Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brundleflying Networks leads to typically tragic results…

The merge of the WB and UPN networks into the CW has failed to bear fruit to a bizarre extent, presumably because ‘CW’ is a retarded named for a network.

In any case, an article in the Nov 10th issue of Entertainment Weekly notes that the combo network is pulling only as many viewers as the demised WB or UPN pulled each on their own, meaning their former aggregate ratings have dropped nearly in half. Moreover, the revenue gleaned by the CW is actually $35 less than the WB brought in, albeit quite a bit more than the UPN pulled in.

That seems counterintuitive, to say the least. Merging the two networks allowed the CW to cherry pick programming to create one, presumably superior, entity. However, as the stagnant ratings indicate, the CW has basically maintained the audiences of many of its shows, and not garnered many of the viewers newly at large from the new lack of a fifth broadcast network.

In other words, the viewers that were watching UPN’s programming instead of the WB’s, and vice versa, have gone elsewhere. This has left the CW with pretty much exactly the same ratings of the shows when they were on the previous two networks. In hindsight, this perhaps doesn’t seem surprising, but the fact that the CW supposedly merged the best/most popular programming of both networks should have meant at least some uptick in the CW ratings.

Instead, ratings for veteran series are largely flat or actually lower. 7th Heaven, formerly the most popular show on either the WB or UPN, finds its ratings down nearly 30%. (Perhaps viewers took to heart the fact that the show was ending, as was the original plan.) Gilmore Girls is also down nearly 20%. Critical fave Veronica Mars has seen a meager 2% rise in its ratings, which, considering the show was long considered on the bubble for cancellation, does not bode well for its continued existence.

Things haven’t been helped by the utter routing of the combo network’s new programming, shows so obscure—The Game, Runaways—that frankly I myself hadn’t even heard of them. Runaways has apparently already been canned, after only 3 episodes.

Of course, the experiment is but a month or two old, so there’s still time for the CW to pull itself together. One really major hit—as when the fledgling Fox Network came up with The Simpsons nearly twenty years ago—might be enough to ensure it’s existence. Stranger things have happened.


At 9:53 AM, Anonymous ScottM said...

Broadcast TV? Is that thing still around?

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous twitterpate said...

Consider it sort of like an extended trailer to the full-season DVD market.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Mike P said...

I'm hoping enough shows are cancelled to allow the CW to pick up the "Aquaman" series as one of those midseason replacements.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

If UPN couldn't find a breakout hit (isn't their biggest hit ever - ratings wise - Star Trek: Voyager?) in almost a decade, I'm not confident that The CW can in a shorter period of time.
Also, doesn't the CW logo kind of make it look like the Cow Network?


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