My latest column is headlined Screwing The TV Viewers: The CW network is the bastard child of The WB and UPN. Here’s what I say about CW programming:
“It’s important to note that the vast majority of moviegoers can’t discern any difference in product after Universal Studios was sold to NBC, MGM/UA gobbled up by Sony, and Pixar bought out by Disney. But viewers of The CW won’t get to see UPN’s two separate nights of African-American-oriented programming (because that’s been halved) or The WB’s many family-friendly prime-time shows (because they’ve been axed). So two underserved network audiences who embraced the netlet duo will soon be served even less. That’s horrendous since it comes at a time when black, Latino, Asian and other minority faces are as rare on network TV as smart sitcoms.
Also dispiriting is the way that The CW cherry-picked the two netlets’ affiliates in major and minor TV markets around the country. That leaves those orphaned WB and UPN stations to subsist on syndicated shows, which are programming’s nutritional equivalent of pork rinds. When I pointed out how much worse the network landscape will be for viewers because of the above, one of the executives involved in the deal demonstrated that special sang-froid network suits reserve for any discussion about the airwaves being a vehicle for the public interest instead of just a wheelbarrow for corporate profits. ‘As a business move, it was the smartest [for] our company to make,’ he told me. That’s because execs at CBS and Time Warner greedily expect The CW to be profitable in its first year.”