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UPN, WB Merge into CW Network

25 Jan, 2006 Response This Week

NEW YORK- UPN and the WB announced yesterday that they will cease business as separate entities this September and merge to become the new CW network.

UPN, owned by CBS, and the WB, a unit of Time Warner’s Warner Bros., will each retain 50 percent of the new network, which will focus on the ethnic and youth demographics between 18 and 34 just as the previous networks did. Rather than competing for the same target audience, the networks join forces and hope to gain an even larger market share than broadcast rivals ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.

The CW derives its name from the first letter of each of its parent companies since the most popular UPN and WB shows will carry over to the new network, including “America’s Next Top Model,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Smallville.” CW will air 30 hours of programming per week, according to Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS.

Moonves announced the company’s plans early Tuesday morning to a group of reporters in New York. In his announcement he said, “The CW is going to be a real competitor, a destination for young audience, diverse audiences, and a real favorite with advertisers. The CW will be able to do something truly remarkable: program already hit shows every single day of the week, programs that consistently rank No. 1 or No. 2 in their time slots in the most coveted young adult demographic.”

CW will also share executive management from both UPN and the WB. Dawn Ostroff, current UPN president, will become the new president of CW, and John Maatta, the WB’s COO, will serve in that same position at the CW.

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