mic_none

2006 United States broadcast television realignment Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_United_States_broadcast_television_realignment

Logo for The WB Television Network (shortly The WB)
Logo for the United Paramount Network (shortly UPN)
Logo for The CW Television Network (shortly The CW)
Logo for MyNetworkTV (shortly MyTV)

In January 2006, America's two "second-tier" television networks, UPN and The WB, announced they would both cease operations on September 15 and 17, and their operations would be transferred to a new joint-venture "fifth" network, The CW. Meanwhile, Fox Television Stations (which owned several UPN and WB-affiliated stations in large cities that were blocked from affiliating with The CW) signed up with MyNetworkTV, a new "sixth" network owned by then-parent company News Corporation's Fox Entertainment Group.

Background[edit]

In January 1995, The WB Television Network and the United Paramount Network (UPN) were launched,[1] each hoping to recreate the success of the Fox network, which had launched in October 1986 and became one of America's "major" networks through the successes of several early series (such as The Simpsons, Married... with Children, The X-Files, Melrose Place, Martin, In Living Color, COPS, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Fox Kids airings of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and its 1993 deal with the National Football League (NFL) to assume the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference (NFC) from CBS. Like with Fox at the time, The WB targeted a mostly teenage and young adult audience; UPN, however, aimed its programming at a broader demographic of adults between 18 and 49 years of age.

All three networks had been joint ventures between major Hollywood studios and large owners of previously independent stations – The WB was owned by the Warner Bros. Entertainment division of Time Warner, in a joint venture with the Tribune Company, and UPN was founded by Chris-Craft Industries, in a programming partnership with Paramount Pictures. In October 1993, Chris-Craft and the Paramount Stations Group reached affiliation agreements with most of the independent stations owned by the respective groups to serve as charter UPN affiliates.[2] That November, Tribune cut affiliation deals with The WB for all eight independent stations it owned at the time (including stations in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago) – as well as a station in Boston that Tribune bought from the Gannett Company the following year, though only seven would join the network at launch due to the company's Atlanta station affiliating with CBS (its New Orleans station would follow suit in 1996, switching its affiliation to ABC);[3][4] Chris-Craft and Paramount also each owned independent stations in large and mid-sized markets (with the former owning stations in New York City and Los Angeles).

Both new networks launched to limited fanfare and generally poor results. Over the course of 11½ seasons, despite a number of minor-hit or cult-hit series such as Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed, 7th Heaven, Gilmore Girls, Girlfriends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Felicity, Moesha, Dawson's Creek, The Parkers, One on One, Roswell, and Kids' WB's airing of the anime Pokémon, neither network was able to attain the stature that Fox had gained in its first decade, much less that of the longstanding "Big Three" television networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). By early 2006, both networks were losing money, although The WB had been profitable a few seasons earlier; in slight contrast, UPN had never turned a profit and had already lost $800 million in its first five years of operation.[5] Reports indicated that the prospects for both networks were fading quickly.

A further complication was the various shifts in network and affiliate ownership at UPN. Shortly before its launch, Paramount Pictures' corporate parent Paramount Communications was purchased by Viacom, which later purchased a 50% stake in UPN in December 1996,[6][7] and acquired CBS in 2000. Viacom was permitted to keep interests in both networks, in effect, resulting in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lifting its long-standing ban on television station duopolies. Chris-Craft's relations with Viacom were strained in February 2000 when the latter firm exercised a contractual right to force Chris-Craft to either buy Viacom out of UPN, or sell its stake in the network to Viacom within a 45-day grace period. Chris-Craft subsequently filed a lawsuit against Viacom in the New York Supreme Court to block the CBS merger on grounds that a pact reached between Chris-Craft and Viacom in 1997 disallowed either company from owning "any interest, financial or otherwise" in "any competing network" through January 2001; however, New York Supreme Court judge Herman Cahn ruled against Chris-Craft's move for a permanent injunction motion in March 2000.[8][9][10] Chris-Craft could not find a suitable partner and sold its interest in UPN to Viacom for $5 million that April.[11][12][13] This had the adverse effect of making UPN one of the few networks not to have owned-and operated flagship stations in New York City and Los Angeles, resulting in UPN's de facto owned-and operated flagship stations being located in Philadelphia and San Francisco instead (additionally, UPN never had an O&O in the Chicago market throughout its existence).

Similarly, The WB had the distinction of being the only American broadcast network never to have had an O&O, as although minority owner Tribune operated its core charter stations, Time Warner held majority ownership in the network (with a maximum interest of 77.5%, during the final years of The WB's existence). Time Warner did acquire Atlanta independent station WTBS (which served as the originating feed of then-superstation TBS) through its 1996 merger with the Turner Broadcasting System; however, WATL (which Tribune would acquire in 1999) served as the WB affiliate for that market throughout the network's run.

That August, when Chris-Craft put its television stations – most of them UPN affiliates – up for sale, it sold them to News Corporation's Fox Television Stations subsidiary instead of Viacom. At the time, Fox seemed to be a willing partner in UPN, but made no firm commitment.[14] On September 24, 2003, Fox Television Stations renewed affiliation agreements for its nine UPN stations for three years through 2006.[15] In December 2005, Viacom split into two companies: a new company keeping the Viacom name (which took the original company's film and most of its cable television properties), and CBS Corporation (essentially the old Viacom renamed, which retained the broadcast properties, along with Showtime Networks). In this "split", ownership of UPN went to CBS Corporation.[16][17]

The new "fifth" and "sixth" networks[edit]

On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced they would shut down both UPN and The WB that fall. In place of these two networks, a new "fifth" network that would be jointly owned by both companies, would launch, with a lineup made primarily of the most popular programs from both The WB and UPN. The network was given the name "The CW" ("CW" representing the first initials of CBS and Warner Bros.).[18][19][20][21][22]

The CW immediately announced ten-year affiliation agreements with 16 WB affiliates owned by Tribune Broadcasting,[23] and 11 UPN owned-and-operated stations under CBS ownership, giving the new network coverage in all of the top 13 markets and a reach of 48% of the country. The remaining affiliates were to be drawn from the pool of stations affiliated with UPN and The WB. The CW took on The WB's base scheduling model (two hours of prime time programming each Monday through Friday and five hours on Sundays, a two-hour daytime block on weekdays and a five-hour Saturday morning children's block), which was larger in scope compared to UPN, which aired prime time programming only on weekdays and a two-hour repeat block on weekends at the time of the CW announcement.

It was immediately clear that most media markets which had stations that were owned by Tribune would receive the CW affiliation, leaving Fox Television Stations, UPN's second largest affiliate group (after the UPN O&Os owned by CBS Television Stations), without any network programming during primetime hours. Rumors began to circulate that Fox would develop its own network for those affected stations and others left out in the merger.[24] The rumors proved true, and on February 22, 2006, Fox announced the launch of its own network, MyNetworkTV, a programming service meant to fill the two nightly primetime hours that would open up on its UPN and WB-affiliated stations after the start of The CW. Fox also offered the service to other stations.[25][26]

Stations[edit]

Following the CW network announcement, the new network immediately announced ten-year affiliation agreements with the Tribune Company and CBS Television Stations. Tribune committed 16 stations – including its flagship broadcast stations WGN-TV (channel 9) in Chicago; KTLA (channel 5) in Los Angeles; and WPIX (channel 11) in New York City – that were previously affiliated with The WB,[23] while CBS committed 11 of its UPN stations – including WPSG (channel 57) in Philadelphia; KBCW (channel 44) in San Francisco; and WUPA (channel 69) in Atlanta. These stations combined to reach 48% of the United States. Both groups also owned several UPN- and WB-affiliated stations that did not join The CW in overlapping markets. As part of its agreement, Tribune agreed to divest its 22.5% ownership interest in The WB – a decision that the company made in part to avoid shouldering shutdown costs for the network[27] – and did not acquire an interest in The CW.

The CW would eventually reach 95% of all television households in the United States. In markets where both UPN and WB affiliates operated, only one station became a CW affiliate. CW executives were on record as preferring the "strongest" stations viewership-wise among The WB and UPN's existing affiliates. However, as the reorganization was structured not as a merger in the legal sense, but as a new network launching concurrent with the shutdowns of The WB and UPN, The CW was not obligated by existing affiliations with The WB and UPN. It had to negotiate affiliation agreements from scratch with individual stations.

As a result, in some markets, the new CW affiliate was a different station from either the former WB and UPN stations. In Helena, Montana, Ion Television affiliate KMTF (channel 10; now PBS member station KUHM-TV) became a CW station. In Las Vegas, Nevada, independent station KFBT (channel 33, now KVCW) chose to affiliate with The CW. In Honolulu, Hawaii, The CW did not become available in the market until early December 2006, where it was carried on a digital subchannel of local Fox affiliate KHON-TV (channel 2). The network also affiliated with some digital channels, mainly newly launched subchannels of a local Big Four affiliate, in several markets.

Under the new network, a new service called The CW Plus[28][29][30] began serving Nielsen markets with rankings of 100 and lower, featuring a pre-supplied master schedule of programs acquired from the syndication market in addition to CW network programming. The CW Plus is structured similarly to The WB 100+ Station Group, which supplied locally branded WB-affiliated cable channels.[31][32] In most cases, distribution for The CW Plus covers not only cable but broadcast television as well, including the digital subchannels discussed above.

On March 1, 2006, five stations – four WB affiliates and one UPN affiliate – were the first outside the core CBS and Tribune stations to sign affiliation deals with The CW.[33] By May 18, 2006, 174 stations had signed agreements to become affiliates of The CW, reaching 105 million households and covering 95.3% of the country (the latter two figures excluding the CW stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Station groups that signed up a large number of their stations as CW affiliates included Pappas Telecasting Companies, ACME Communications and Sinclair Broadcast Group, although many other large groups, including Hearst-Argyle Television, Clear Channel Communications and Belo Corporation had signed up selected stations. Sinclair signed deals to carry the network in early May, despite reservations with The CW's reported demands for reverse compensation.[34]

While WGN-TV in Chicago became a charter affiliate of The CW, its former national counterpart WGN America never aired programs from The CW through a formal affiliation when it operated as WGN-TV's out-of-market superstation feed prior to December 2014 (although it did carry reruns of select CW series in marathon form in 2013), as the network has sufficient enough affiliate coverage that The CW did not need to use the national WGN feed to carry its programming; WGN America had previously carried WB programming from that network's January 1995 launch until October 1999, when Tribune Broadcasting and Time Warner mutually decided that The WB's national broadcast coverage had increased to a level that allowed the WGN national feed to discontinue carrying the network.[1][35][36]

Several affiliates changed their call letters to reflect their new affiliation with The CW (e.g. KPWB-TV (Des Moines) to KCWI, WNPA-TV (Pittsburgh) to WPCW-TV, WJWB (Jacksonville) to WCWJ, WHCP (Portsmouth, Ohio, serving the Charleston, West Virginia market) to WQCW, WEWB (Albany, New York) to WCWN, KWCV (Wichita, Kansas) to KSCW, WBDC (Washington, D.C.) to WDCW, KBHK (San Francisco) to KBCW, and KHWB (Houston) to KHCW). Some stations, however, retained call signs that referred to UPN and The WB, such as WUPA in Atlanta and KWBA-TV in Tucson, Arizona, respectively. In August 2006, CBS Corporation's CW stations dropped all references to UPN from their branding.

Due to the availability of "instant duopoly" digital subchannels, and the overall lack of a need to settle for a secondary affiliation with shows aired in problematic timeslots, both The CW and MyNetworkTV launched with far greater national coverage than that enjoyed by UPN and The WB when they started in 1995. For several years, UPN had coverage gaps in the top 30 markets, and by 2005 had only managed to reach 86% of the population. This resulted in secondary affiliations with other networks (with some dual WB-UPN affiliates airing the latter network's programming immediately after The WB's primetime lineup, and vice versa) and diluted ratings when programs were shown out of their intended timeslots, or the lack of the program airing at all (a problem experienced by many Star Trek fans with Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise).

Repercussions[edit]

Stations involved in the realignment by market
Market Station Affiliation
before switch
Affiliation
after switch
Current
affiliation
Abilene

Sweetwater

KTXS-DT2

12.2

The CW same
KXVA-DT2

15.2

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KVAW"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
AguadillaSan Juan WSJP-LD

18

UPN (primary);

The WB (secondary)

The CW Fox
Albany, GA WSWG-DT2 44.2 MyNetworkTV MeTV
WSWG-DT3 44.3 The CW MyNetworkTV
"WBSK"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
AlbanySchenectady

Troy

WEWB-TV 45

(now WCWN)

The WB The CW same
WNYA 51 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Albuquerque

Santa Fe

KWBQ 19 The WB The CW same
KRWB 21 The WB The CW same
KASY-TV 50 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Alexandria KBCA 41 The WB The CW H&I
WNTZ-TV

48

Fox MyNetworkTV

(secondary); Fox (primary)

same
KALB-DT3

5.3

The CW same
Alpena "WBAE"
cable 5
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
Amarillo KVII-DT2

7.2

The WB The CW same
KVIH-DT2

12.2

The WB The CW same
KCPN-LP

22

(now KCPN-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KDBA"
cable 11
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Anchorage KYES-TV 5

(now KAUU)

UPN MyNetworkTV CBS
KIMO-DT2

13.2

(now KYUR)

The CW same
"KWBX"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Atlanta WATL 36 The WB MyNetworkTV same
WUPA 69 UPN The CW same
Augusta, GA WRDW-DT2 12.2 UPN NBC same
WRDW-DT3 12.3 MyNetworkTV same
WAGT-DT2

26.2

The CW defunct
"WBAU"
cable 23
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Austin, TX KBEJ 2

(now KCWX)

UPN The CW MyNetworkTV
KRRT 35

(now KMYS)

The WB MyNetworkTV Dabl
Bakersfield KGET-DT2

17.2

The WB The CW same
KUVI-TV 45

(now KUVI-DT)

UPN MyNetworkTV Twist
"KWFB"
cable 12
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Baltimore WUTB 24 UPN MyNetworkTV TBD
WNUV 54 The WB The CW same
Bangor WABI-DT2

5.2

The CW same
WVII-DT2

7.2

Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary); Fox (primary) same
WFVX-LD

22

Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary); Fox (primary) same
"WBAN"
cable 4
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Baton Rouge WAFB-DT4

9.4

UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBRL-CD

21

The WB The CW same
WBXH-CD

39

UPN MyNetworkTV same
WGMB-DT2 44.2 The WB The CW same
Beaumont

Port Arthur

KFDM 6 CBS (primary); UPN (secondary) CBS same
KFDM-DT2

6.2

The WB The CW same
KUMY-LP 22

(now KUMY-LD)

Independent MyNetworkTV NewsNet
"KWJB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Bend, OR KTVZ-DT2

21.2

The CW same
KUBN-LP

50

(now KUBN-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KWBO"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Billings KTVQ-DT2

2.2

The CW same
"KWBM"
cable 2
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
BiloxiGulfport WXXV-DT2 12.2 UPN MyNetworkTV NBC
"WBGP"
cable 7 & 80
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
"EXXV-TV"
cable
UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
Binghamton WBNG-DT2 12.2 The WB The CW same
"WBXI"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Birmingham

AnnistonTuscaloosa

WDBB 17 The WB The CW same
WTTO 21 The WB The CW same
WABM 68 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Bluefield

Beckley

Oak Hill

WVVA-DT2

6.2

The WB The CW same
WVNS-DT2

59.2

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"WBB"
cable 18
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Boise KNIN-TV 9 The WB The CW Fox
"KWOB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Boston WSBK-TV

38

UPN Independent same
WZMY-TV 50

(now WWJE-DT)

Independent MyNetworkTV True Crime Network
WLVI 56 The WB The CW same
Bowling Green WBKO-DT3

13.3

The WB The CW same
"WBWG"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Buffalo WNLO 23 UPN The CW same
WNYO-TV 49 The WB MyNetworkTV same
ButteBozeman KXLF-DT2

4.2

The CW same
"KWXB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
CasperRiverton K26ES 20

(now KWYF)

UPN (primary)

i: Independent Television (secondary)

The CW MyNetworkTV (primary)

MeTV (secondary)

"KWWY"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Cedar RapidsWaterloo

Iowa CityDubuque

KWKB 20 The WB The CW (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

TCT
ChampaignSpringfield

Decatur

WCIA-DT2

3.2

UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBUI 23 The WB The CW same
WCIX 49 UPN MyNetworkTV same
CharlestonHuntington WSAZ-DT2

3.2

MyNetworkTV same
WHCP 30

(now WQCW)

The WB (primary)

UPN (secondary)

The CW same
Charleston, SC WCBD-DT2 2.2 The CW same
WMMP 36

(now WCIV)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"WBLN"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Charlotte WWWB 55

(now WMYT)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
WJZY 46 UPN The CW Fox
Charlottesville WAHU-CA2

27.2

(now WVIR-CD 29.2)

MyNetworkTV WeatherNation TV
WVIR-DT3

27.3

(now WVIR-CD 29.2)

The CW same
WVIR-DT3

29.3

The CW same
"WBC"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Chattanooga WDEF-TV 12 CBS (primary) UPN (secondary) CBS same
WFLI 53 The WB The CW same
CheyenneScottsbluff K26ES 20

(now KWYF-LD)

UPN (primary)

i: Independent Television (secondary)

The CW MyNetworkTV (primary)

MeTV (secondary)

"KCHW"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Chicago WGN-TV 9 The WB The CW Independent
WPWR-TV

50

UPN MyNetworkTV same
ChicoRedding KHSL-DT2 12.2 The WB The CW same
KZVU-LD 21 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KRVU-LD 22 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KIWB"
cable 10
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Cincinnati WKRC-DT 12.2 N/A The CW same
WBQC-CA 38

(now WBQC-LD)

UPN Independent This TV
WSTR-TV 64 The WB MyNetworkTV same
ClarksburgWeston WVFX-DT2 46.2 The WB The CW same
"WVWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
ClevelandAkron WUAB 43 UPN MyNetworkTV The CW
WBNX-TV 55 The WB The CW Independent
Colorado SpringsPueblo KKTV-DT2 11.2 MyNetworkTV same
KXTU-LP 57

(now KXTU-LD)

UPN The CW same
ColumbiaJefferson City KOMU-DT3

8.3

The WB The CW same
KMIZ-DT3 17.3 MyNetworkTV same
"KJWB"
cable 5
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Columbia, SC WZRB 47 UPN The CW Ion
WKTC 63 The WB MyNetworkTV same
ColumbusTupeloWest PointHouston WCBI-DT2 4.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WCBI-DT3 4.3 The CW same
"WBWP"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Columbus, GA WXTX 54 Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Fox (primary)

Fox
WLGA 66

(now WGBP-TV)

UPN The CW Lx
"WBG"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Columbus, OH WSYX-DT2

6.2

MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)

This TV (secondary)

WWHO 53 UPN (primary)

The WB (secondary)

The CW same
Corpus Christi KRIS-DT2 6.2 The CW same
KTOV-LP 21 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
DallasFort Worth KTXA 21 UPN Independent same
KDFI 27 Independent MyNetworkTV same
KDAF 33 The WB The CW same
DavenportRock IslandMoline WQAD-DT3

8.3

UPN MyNetworkTV same
KGWB-TV 26

(now KGCW)

The WB The CW same
Dayton WBDT 26 The WB The CW same
WRGT-DT2

45.2

MyNetworkTV same
Denver KWGN-TV 2 The WB The CW same
KTVD 20 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Des MoinesAmes KDMI 19 America One (primary)

MyNetworkTV

(secondary)

TCT
KPWB-TV 23

(now KCWI-TV)

The WB The CW (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

The CW
Detroit WDWB 20

(now WMYD)

The WB MyNetworkTV Independent
WKBD 50 UPN The CW same
Dothan WTVY-DT2 4.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WTVY-DT3 4.3 The CW same
"WBDO"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
DuluthSuperior KDLH-DT2

3.2

The WB The CW True Crime Network
KBJR-DT2 6.2 UPN MyNetworkTV CBS
"KWBD"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
El Paso KDBC-DT2

4.2

MyNetworkTV same
KVIA-DT2 7.2 The CW same
Elmira WENY-DT3

36.3

The WB The CW same
WJKP-LP 39

(now WJKP-LD)

MyNetworkTV same
WYDC-DT2

48.2

MyNetworkTV same
"WBE"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Erie WSEE-DT2

35.2

The CW same
"WBEP"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Eugene KMTR-DT2

16.2

The WB The CW same
KUCW-DT2 23.2

(now KMCB)

The WB The CW same
KEVU-CD 23 Independent MyNetworkTV same
KLSR-DT2

34.2

Independent MyNetworkTV same
KMTX-DT2 46.2

(now KTCW)

The WB The CW same
"KZWB"
cable 11
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Eureka KECA-LD 29 UPN The CW same
KECA-LD2

29.2

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KWBT"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Evansville WJPS-LP 4 The WB The CW defunct
WIKY-LP 5 The WB The CW defunct
WAZE-LP 17 The WB The CW defunct
WEVV-DT2

44.2

Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Fox (primary)

same
WEEV-LD 47 Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Fox (primary)

same
WTSN-LP 63

(now WYYW-CD 15)

UPN MyNetworkTV Telemundo
Fairbanks KATN-DT2 2.2 The WB The CW Fox
"KWBX"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Fargo KCPM 27 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
"WBFG"
cable 8
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
FlintSaginawBay City WNEM-DT2 5.2 MyNetworkTV same
WEYI-DT2 25.2 The WB The CW same
WBSF 46 The WB The CW same
Fort MyersNaples WTVK 46

(now WXCW)

The WB The CW same
"WNFM"
cable 8
UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
Fort SmithFayettevilleSpringdaleRogers KFSM-DT2

5.2

The WB MyNetworkTV True Crime Network
KWFT 34 (now KXNW) The WB RTN MyNetworkTV
KPBI-CA 46 Independent MyNetworkTV defunct
Fort Wayne WPTA-DT2

21.2

The WB The CW NBC
WISE-DT2 33.2 MyNetworkTV True Crime Network
"WBFW"
cable 37
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
FresnoVisalia KAIL 7 UPN MyNetworkTV TCT
KFRE 59 The WB The CW same
Gainesville WMYG-LP 11 UPN (primary)

The WB (secondary)

MyNetworkTV defunct
WGFL-DT2

28.2

UPN (primary)

The WB (secondary)

MyNetworkTV same
"WBFL"
cable 10
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Glendive "KWZB"
cable 22
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Grand JunctionMontrose KREX-DT3

5.3

MyNetworkTV same
KKCO-DT2

11.2

The CW MeTV
KGJT-CD 27 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KWGJ"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Grand RapidsKalamazooBattle Creek WWMT-DT2 3.2 The CW same
WXSP-CA 15

(now WXSP-CD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
Great Falls KRTV-DT2 3.2 The CW same
KLMN 26 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
"KWGF"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Green BayAppleton WIWB 14

(now WCWF)

The WB The CW same
WACY 32

(now WACY-TV)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
GreensboroHigh PointWinston-Salem WTWB-TV 20

(now WCWG)

The WB The CW same
WUPN-TV 48

(now WMYV)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
GreenvilleNew BernWashington WNCT-DT2 9.2 The CW same
WPXU-TV 35 i: Independent Television i: Independent Television (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Ion
WEPX-TV 38 i: Independent Television i: Independent Television (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Ion
"WGWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Greenville–Spartanburg–Asheville–Anderson WBSC-TV 40

(now WMYA-TV)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
WASV-TV 62

(now WYCW)

UPN The CW same
Greenwood–Greenville "WBWD"
cable 32
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
Harlingen–Weslaco–Brownsville–McAllen "KMHB"
cable 53
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Harrisburg–Lancaster–Lebanon–York WLYH-TV 15

(now WXBU)

UPN The CW TBD
WHP-DT2 21.2 MyNetworkTV same
Harrisonburg WHSV-DT4

3.4

MyNetworkTV same
"WBHA"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Hartford–New Haven WTXX 20

(now WCCT)

The WB The CW same
WCTX 59 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Hattiesburg–Laurel "WBH"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Helena KMTF 10

(now KUHM-TV)

The WB The CW PBS
Honolulu KHON-DT2

2.2

The CW same
KFVE 5

(now KHII 9)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
KAII-DT2 7.2 The CW same
KGMD-TV 9 The WB MyNetworkTV same
KGMV 9 The WB MyNetworkTV same
KHAW-DT2

11.2

The CW same
KIKU 20 Independent (primary)

UPN (secondary)

Independent (primary)

FUNimation Channel (secondary)

Independent
Houston KTXH 20 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KIAH 39 The WB The CW same
Huntsville–Decatur WHDF 15 UPN The CW same
WZDX-DT2

54.2

The WB MyNetworkTV same
Idaho Falls–Pocatello KPIF 15 The WB The CW MeTV
Indianapolis WTTV 4 The WB The CW CBS
WNDY-TV 23 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WTTK 29 The WB The CW CBS
Jackson, MS WRBJ 34 UPN The CW TBN
WUFX 35

(now WLOO)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
Jackson, TN "WBJK"
cable 2
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Jacksonville WJWB 17

(now WCWJ)

The WB The CW same
WAWS-DT2 30.2

(now WFOX)

MyNetworkTV same
Johnstown–Altoona–State College WHVL-LD 29 MyNetworkTV same
Jonesboro "KJOS"
cable 21
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Joplin–Pittsburg "KSXF"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Juneau KJUD-DT2 8.2 The CW same
K17HC 17 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
"KWJA"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Kansas City KCWE 29 UPN The CW same
KSMO-TV 62 The WB MyNetworkTV same
Knoxville WVLT-DT2 8.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBXX 20 The WB The CW same
La Crosse–Eau Claire WKBT-DT2

8.2

UPN MyNetworkTV same
WQOW-DT2 18.2 The CW same
WXOW-DT2 19.2 The CW same
"WBCZ"
cable 15
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Lafayette, LA K58GA 46

(now KLAF-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV NBC
KLWB 50 The WB The CW MeTV
Lake Charles "WBLC"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Lansing WHTV 18 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
WLAJ-DT2 53.2 The WB The CW same
Laredo KGNS-DT2 8.2 The WB The CW ABC
"KTXW"
cable 19
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Las Vegas KVMY 21 (now KHSV) The WB MyNetworkTV Antenna TV
KTUD-CA 25

(now KTUD-CD)

UPN Independent defunct
KFBT 33

(now KVCW)

The WB The CW same
Lexington WKYT-DT2 27.2 UPN The CW same
WBLU-LP 62 Independent MyNetworkTV defunct
Lima WOHL-CA 25

(now WOHL-CD)

Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Fox (primary)

ABC
"WBOH"
cable 3
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Lincoln–Hastings–Kearney KOLN-DT2

10.2

UPN MyNetworkTV NBC
KGIN-DT2 11.2 UPN MyNetworkTV NBC
KOWH 51

(now KFXL)

The WB The CW Fox
"KWBL"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Little Rock KASN 38 UPN The CW same
KWBF 42 (now KARZ) The WB MyNetworkTV same
Los Angeles KTLA 5 The WB The CW same
KCOP-TV 13 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Louisville WBKI-TV 34 The WB The CW defunct
Lubbock KUPT-LP 14

(now KMYL-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
KWBZ-TV 43

(now KLCW-TV 22)

The WB The CW same
Macon WMGT-DT2 41.2 MyNetworkTV same
"WBMN"
cable 3
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Madison WISC-DT2 3.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBUW 57

(now WIFS)

The WB The CW Ion
Mankato "KWYE"
cable 19
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
Marquette WMQF 19

(now WZMQ)

Fox (primary)

UPN (secondary)

MyNetworkTV MeTV
"WBMK"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Medford–Klamath Falls KFBI-LD 63

(now KFBI-LD 48)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KMFD"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Memphis WLMT 30 The WB (primary) UPN (secondary) The CW The CW (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

WPXX-TV 50 i: Independent Television MyNetworkTV Ion
Meridian WTOK-DT3 11.3 The CW same
"WBMM"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Miami–Fort Lauderdale WBFS-TV 33 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBZL 39

(now WSFL)

The WB The CW same
Milwaukee WVTV 18 The WB The CW same
WCGV-TV 24

(now WVTV-DT2 24.1)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
Minneapolis–St. Paul KMWB 23

(now WUCW)

The WB The CW same
KFTC 26 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WFTC 29

(now WFTC 9.2)

UPN MyNetworkTV Fox (UHF simulcast)

(WFTC-DT1 9.1)

MyNetworkTV (WFTC-DT2 9.2)

Minot–Bismarck–Dickinson "KWMK"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Missoula KMMF 17 Fox MyNetworkTV (secondary)

Fox (primary)

defunct
"KIDW"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Mobile–Pensacola WFGX 35 Independent MyNetworkTV same
WBPG 55

(now WFNA)

The WB The CW same
Monroe–El Dorado KNOE-DT2 8.2 The CW ABC
KMCT-TV 39 i: Independent Television MyNetworkTV Religious Independent
KEJB 43 UPN MyNetworkTV defunct
"KWMB"
cable 12
The WB The CW defunct
Monterey–Salinas KOTR-LP 2

(now KOTR-LD)

Independent MyNetworkTV same
KION-DT2 46.2 The CW same
"KMWB"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Montgomery–Selma WBMM 22 Daystar The CW same
WRJM-TV 67

(now WIYC 48)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"WBMY"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Myrtle Beach–Florence WBTW-DT2 13.2 MyNetworkTV same
WWMB 21 UPN The CW same
"WFWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Nashville WUXP-TV 30 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WNAB 58 The WB The CW Dabl
New Orleans WNOL 38 The WB The CW same
WUPL 58 UPN MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)

CBS (secondary)

New York City WWOR-TV 9 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WPIX 11 The WB The CW same
Norfolk–Portsmouth–Newport News WGNT 27 UPN The CW same
WTVZ-TV 33 The WB MyNetworkTV same
North Platte "KWPL"
cable 2
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Odessa–Midland KOSA-DT2 7.2 UPN MyNetworkTV The CW
KWWT 30 The WB The CW MyNetworkTV
Oklahoma City KOCB 34 The WB The CW same
KAUT-TV 43 UPN MyNetworkTV Independent
Omaha KXVO 15 The WB The CW TBD
KPTM-DT2 12.2 MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)

Dabl (secondary)

Orlando–Daytona Beach–Melbourne WKCF 18 The WB The CW same
WRBW 65 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Ottumwa–Kirksville "KWOT"
cable 10
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Paducah–Cape Girardeau–Harrisburg WQWQ-LP 9 UPN The CW same
KFVS-DT2 12.2 UPN The CW same
KBSI-DT2 23.2 The WB MyNetworkTV same
WQTV-LP 24 UPN The CW defunct
WDKA 49 The WB MyNetworkTV same
Palm Springs KCWQ-LD 2 The WB The CW same
KESQ-DT3 2.3 The WB The CW same
KPSE-LP 50

(now KPSE-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KCWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Panama City WJHG-DT2 7.2 The WB The CW same
"WBPC"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Parkersburg W64CS-DT2 64.2 (now WIYE-DT2 26.2) MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)

MeTV (secondary)

"WBPB"
cable 5

(later "WCWP")

The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Peoria–Bloomington WHOI-DT2 19.2 The CW Charge!
WAOE 59 UPN MyNetworkTV Infomercials
"WBPE"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Philadelphia WPHL-TV 17 The WB MyNetworkTV same
WPSG 57 UPN The CW same
Phoenix KUTP 45 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KASW 61 The WB The CW same
Pittsburgh WNPA 19

(now WPCW)

UPN The CW same
WCWB 22

(now WPNT)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
Portland–Auburn WPME 35

(now WIPL)

UPN MyNetworkTV Ion
WPXT 51 The WB The CW same
Portland, OR KWBP 32

(now KRCW)

The WB The CW same
KPDX 49 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Presque Isle "WBPQ"
cable 13
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Providence–New Bedford WLWC 28 The WB The CW Court TV
WNAC-DT2 64.2 MyNetworkTV The CW
Quincy–Hannibal–Keokuk WGEM-DT2 10.2 The WB The CW same
"WEWB"
cable 6
The WB The CW defunct
Raleigh–Durham WLFL 22 The WB The CW same
WRDC 28 UPN MyNetworkTV same
Rapid City KCLO-DT2 15.2 UPN MyNetworkTV The CW
KKRA-LP 24 i: Independent Television MyNetworkTV NBC
KWBH-LP 27 The WB The CW MyNetworkTV
Reno KAME-TV 21

(now KNSN-TV)

UPN MyNetworkTV Independent (primary) MyNetworkTV (secondary)
KREN-TV 27 The WB The CW Univision
Richmond–Petersburg WRLH-DT2 35.2 MyNetworkTV same
WUPV 65 UPN The CW same
Roanoke–Lynchburg WDBJ-DT2 7.2 Independent MyNetworkTV Circle
WJPR 21

(now WWCW)

Fox The CW same
WFXR-DT2 27.2 The CW same
"WBVA-TV"
cable 5

(later "WCW5-TV")

The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Rochester–Mason City–Austin KIMT-DT2 3.2 MyNetworkTV same
KTTC-DT2 10.2 The WB The CW same
"KWBR"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Rochester, NY WHAM-DT2 13.2 The WB The CW same
WBGT-LP 46

(now WBGT-CD)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
Rockford WREX-DT2 13.2 The WB The CW same
WTVO-DT2 17.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"WBR"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Sacramento–Stockton–Modesto KMAX 31 UPN The CW same
KQCA 58 The WB MyNetworkTV same
Salisbury WMDT-DT2 47.2 The WB The CW same
"WBD"
cable 3
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Salt Lake City KJZZ 14 Independent MyNetworkTV Independent
KPNZ 24 UPN Independent Azteca América
KUWB 30

(now KUCW)

The WB The CW same
San Angelo KIDY-DT2 6.2 MyNetworkTV same
KTXE-LD2 12.2 The CW same
"KWSA"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
San Antonio KBEJ 2<br />(now KCWX) The WB The CW MyNetworkTV
KRRT 35 (now KMYS) UPN MyNetworkTV The CW
San Diego–Tijuana XHUPN-TV 49

(now XHDTV-TDT)

UPN MyNetworkTV Milenio Televisión
KSWB-TV 69 The WB The CW Fox
San Francisco KRON-TV 4 Independent MyNetworkTV same
KBWB 20

(now KOFY-TV)

The WB Independent same
KBHK-TV 44

(now KBCW)

UPN The CW same
Santa Barbara–Santa Maria–San Luis Obispo KEYT-DT2 3.2 MyNetworkTV same
KSBY-DT2 6.2 The WB The CW same
"KWCA"
cable 5
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Savannah WSAV-DT3 3.3 MyNetworkTV Court TV (primary) MyNetworkTV (secondary)
WSCG 34 UPN The CW TCT
"WBVH"
cable 13
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Seattle–Tacoma KSTW 11 UPN The CW same
KTWB-TV 22

(now KZJO)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
Sherman–Ada KTEN-DT2 10.2 The CW same
KXII-DT2 12.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KSHD"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Shreveport KPXJ 21 UPN The CW same
KSHV-TV 45 The WB MyNetworkTV same
Sioux City KTIV-DT2 4.2 The WB The CW same
KPTH-DT2 44.2 MyNetworkTV same
"KXWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Sioux Falls KDLO-DT2 3.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KPLO-DT2 6.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KELO-DT2 11.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KWSD 36 The WB The CW Independent
South Bend WSBT-DT2 22.2 UPN Independent Fox
WAAT-LP 25

(now WCWW-LD)

The WB The CW same
WCWW-LP 69

(now WMYS-LD)

Independent MyNetworkTV same
Spokane KXLY-TV 4 ABC (primary) UPN (secondary) ABC same
KUUP-LP 4

(now KXMN-LD)

ABC (primary) UPN (secondary) MyNetworkTV ABC
KSKN 22 The WB The CW same
Springfield–Holyoke WGGB-DT2 40.2 The Tube Fox (primary) MyNetworkTV (secondary) same
"WBQT"
cable 11 & 16
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Springfield, MO K15CZ 15

(now KSPR-LD 33)

UPN The CW ABC
K17DL 17 (now K17DL-D) UPN The CW Tourist Information
KWBM 31 The WB MyNetworkTV Daystar
St. Croix, USVI WCVI-TV 39

(now WCVI-TV 23)

UPN The CW CBS
St. Joseph "WBJO"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
St. Louis KPLR 11 The WB The CW same
WRBU 46 UPN MyNetworkTV Ion
Syracuse WSTM-DT2 3.2 UPN The CW same
WSTQ-LP 14 UPN The CW defunct
WNYS-TV 43

(now WSYT-DT3 43.1)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
Tallahassee–Thomasville WTLF 24 The WB The CW same
WFXU 48

(now WFXU 57)

The WB The CW MeTV (primary)

MyNetworkTV (secondary)

WTLH-DT2 49.2 The WB The CW same
"WBXT"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Tampa–St. Petersburg WTTA 38 The WB MyNetworkTV same
WTOG 44 UPN The CW same
Terre Haute "WBI"
cable 3
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Toledo WNGT-LP 48

(now WMNT-CD)

UPN MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)

Cozi TV (secondary)

"WT05"
cable 5
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Topeka WIBW-DT2 13.2 MyNetworkTV same
KSNT-DT2 27.2 The CW Fox
"WBKS"
cable 5
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Traverse City–Cadillac "WBVC"
cable 61
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Tri-Cities, TN–VA WCYB-DT2 5.2 The WB The CW same
WAPK-CA 36

(now WAPK-CD)

UPN MyNetworkTV MeTV
Tucson KTTU 18 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KWBA-TV 58 The WB The CW same
Tulsa KWBT 19 (now KQCW-DT) The WB The CW same
KTFO 41 (now KMYT-TV) UPN MyNetworkTV same
Twin Falls KMVT-DT2 11.2 The CW same
"KWTE"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
TylerLongview KTPN-LP 48

(now KTPN-LD)

Independent MyNetworkTV same
KCEB 54 The WB The CW Azteca América
"KWTL"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Utica WKTV-DT2 2.2 The WB The CW CBS
WPNY-LP 11 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WUTR-DT2 20.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"WBU"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Victoria K39HB 39 The WB The CW defunct
KXTS-LP 41

(now KXTS-LD)

UPN MyNetworkTV CBS
"KWVB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
WacoTempleBryan KBTX-DT2 3.2 UPN The CW same
KWTX-DT2 10.2 UPN The CW Telemundo
Washington, DC WDCA 20 UPN MyNetworkTV same
WBDC-TV 50

(now WDCW)

The WB The CW same
Watertown WWTI-DT2 50.2 The WB The CW same
"WBWT"
cable 14
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
WausauRhinelander WSAW-DT2 7.2 MyNetworkTV MyNetworkTV (primary)
MeTV (secondary)
WAOW-DT2 9.2 The WB The CW Decades
WYOW-DT2 34.2 The WB The CW defunct
(moved to WYOW 34.1)
"WBWA"
cable 15
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
West Palm BeachFort Pierce WTVX 34 UPN The CW same
WTVX-DT3 34.3 The WB MyNetworkTV same
WTCN-CA 43

(now WTCN-CD)

The WB MyNetworkTV same
WheelingSteubenville "WBWO"
cable 18
The WB 100+ The CW+ same
Wichita FallsLawton KFDX-DT2 3.2 UPN MyNetworkTV same
KAUZ-DT2 6.2 The WB The CW same
KBJO-LD 35 UPN MyNetworkTV same
"KWB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
WichitaHutchinson KWCV 33

(now KSCW)

The WB The CW same
KSCC 36

(now KMTW)

UPN MyNetworkTV same
Wilkes-BarreScrantonHazleton WSWB 38 The WB (primary)

UPN (secondary)

The CW same
WILF 53

(now WQMY)

The WB (primary)

UPN (secondary)

MyNetworkTV same
WQMY-DT3 53.3 The CW same
WOLF-DT2 56.2 The CW same
WOLF-DT3 56.3 MyNetworkTV same
Wilmington "WBW"
cable 29
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
YakimaPascoRichlandKennewick KAZW-TV 9 (later KCWK) Azteca América The CW defunct
"KWYP"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Youngstown WFMJ-DT2 21.2 The WB The CW same
WYTV-DT2 33.2 MyNetworkTV same
YumaEl Centro KECY-TV 9 Fox Fox (primary) MyNetworkTV (secondary) same
KSWT-DT2 13.2

(now KYMA-DT 11.1)

The CW NBC
"KWUB"
cable
The WB 100+ The CW+ defunct
Zanesville "WBZV"
cable

(now "The CW Zanesville")

The WB 100+ The CW+ same

Comparisons to 1994 realignment[edit]

The WB and UPN were the first major television networks to shut down since the collapse of the DuMont Television Network in 1956, although other small broadcast television networks have also ceased operations over the years. Given the merger of the two networks to create The CW (as well as the eventual launch of MyNetworkTV and the proliferation of digital subchannels), the scope of the realignment caused the largest single shakeup in American broadcast television since the Fox/New World Communications alliance of 1994, which preceded the subsequent launches of UPN and The WB the following year that drastically reduced the number of independent television stations in the U.S., some of which had been marketed and distributed as superstations as recently as the mid-1990s.

While The CW's debut affected more markets, unlike the Fox/New World deal of the mid-1990s, it was unlikely to cause the same degree of viewer confusion as almost no affiliates of the four major networks dropped those affiliations to become CW affiliates. Only two former Big Four affiliates switched their primary affiliation, in both cases from Fox to MyNetworkTV:

  • In the Jackson, Mississippi market, Fox affiliate WUFX (channel 35) swapped affiliations with sister station (and the market's original Fox affiliate) WDBD (channel 40; The WB) in the summer before joining MyNetworkTV the following season after three seasons with Fox. Unrelated UPN affiliate WRBJ (channel 34), which signed on the air in early 2006, joined The CW.
  • In the Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Arkansas market, low-power Fox affiliate KPBI-CA (channel 46) switched to MyNetworkTV (along with KPBI (TV), channel 34). Fox had moved its affiliation to full-power KFTA-TV (channel 24), formerly a satellite of NBC affiliate KNWA-TV (channel 51). None of the three stations that were available (the two KPBI's and UPN affiliate KFDF-CA (channel 10)) joined The CW; they were all owned by Equity Broadcasting, which shunned The CW in every one of its markets (KFDF-CA joined the Equity-owned Retro Television Network instead). The CW would finally come to the market the following year on a cable-only channel available via Cox Communications (and eventually on digital subchannels of the market's ABC affiliate, KHBS/KHOG-TV, channels 40 and 29). Equity would eventually declare bankruptcy in 2009 due to a number of factors involving the digital transition and problems with RTV which led it to losing control of that network to Luken Communications.

There were several other cases where Big Four affiliates picked up The CW, MyNetworkTV, or both as a secondary affiliation on their main channel or as a digital subchannel affiliation, even in markets where viable non-network affiliate stations remained.

Network affiliation repercussions[edit]

In media markets where there were separate affiliates of The WB and UPN, one local station was left out in the merger. Many of these stations signed with MyNetworkTV including the vast majority of the Fox stations acquired in the 2001 acquisition of BHC Communications (the former Chris-Craft stations). Additionally, MyNetworkTV signed with three Tribune stations that did not take the CW affiliation: WPHL (channel 17) in Philadelphia, WATL (channel 36) in Atlanta and KTWB (channel 20) in Seattle. Tribune had indicated interest in Fox-developed programming blocks such as MyNetworkTV for stations that did not pick up the CW affiliation; the company announced on May 15 that the aforementioned stations would join MyNetworkTV.[37][38] In contrast, CBS initially seemed more hostile to MyNetworkTV, and announced its remaining UPN affiliates – KTXA (channel 21) in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, WSBK-TV (channel 38) in Boston, WBFS-TV (channel 33) in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, and WUPL (channel 54) in New Orleans as well as WB affiliate WTCN-CA (channel 50) in West Palm Beach – would all become independent stations. Four of the five stations, excluding KTXA, eventually all joined MyNetworkTV.[39][40]

Some stations bypassed by The CW that did not take MyNetworkTV instead opted to become (or revert to) independent stations. For example, the two remaining former Viacom-owned UPN stations – WSBK and KTXA – reverted to their roots as independent stations (the latter was constrained to independence in any event due to Fox-owned KDFI (channel 27), affiliating with MyNetworkTV). As a consequence, in three of the top 10 media markets – Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco – programs from The WB, UPN and MyNetworkTV were all available to viewers from September 5 to 17. MyNetworkTV affiliated with longtime former independent stations WZMY (channel 50) in Derry, New Hampshire (serving the Boston market)[41] and KDFI, while in San Francisco the network affiliated with former longtime NBC affiliate KRON-TV (channel 4; WB affiliate KBWB channel 20, reverted to independent status).[42] Other stations elected to become (or revert to) independent stations as well, particularly in situations where either more than two non-major network affiliate stations existed or another station picked up an affiliation with The CW or MyNetworkTV via a digital subchannel.

Additionally, four former UPN affiliates became affiliates of "Big Four" networks themselves:

Additionally, while some stations joined newly established or lesser-known broadcast networks such as RTV), whose now-defunct parent company Equity Broadcasting did not commit any of its WB affiliates to The CW, other stations (mainly digital subchannels, cable channels such as those that were WB 100+ cable channels, and struggling low-power stations) which received neither The CW nor the MyNetworkTV affiliation opted instead to cease operations entirely. For example, in Dayton, Ohio, the "UPN17" cable channel run by CBS affiliate WHIO-TV (channel 7) closed down at the end of 2006.

Despite the launch of The CW on September 18, 2006, many households around the country were not able to see the new network when it premiered because stations in several markets, primarily those that chose to carry The CW on a digital subchannel of the station's primary affiliate, were unsuccessful in trying to strike a deal with Time Warner Cable to carry their CW subchannels on basic cable lineups, despite the fact that The CW was 50% owned by the provider's then-parent company Time Warner. These markets included Cincinnati; Honolulu; Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso; Corpus Christi; Palm Springs and Lima, Ohio.[43] In late 2006, the Honolulu, El Paso and Palm Springs affiliates were made available on TWC systems in those markets.

Network transition repercussions[edit]

After the conclusion of the May 2006 sweeps period, as both The WB and UPN started shutting down, both programming schedules and on-screen graphics were affected, and on August 14, 2006 both networks stopped inserting their logo bugs into prime time programming in order to allow CW affiliates-to-be to add lower thirds and bugs promoting the new network during this time – this practice was automatically used on WB affiliates' primetime programming.

Also on August 14, 2006, UPN discontinued all promotional advertising for its programs during network time periods (except for audition promotions for America's Next Top Model that aired during that program), though some local stations still aired promos for the network's shows. The network also stopped customizing the closing credits of its shows to the network's standardized graphics scheme (perhaps in reaction to affiliate preemptions, see below), instead showing the program's studio credits full-screen with theme music intact (save for ANTM, where previews for the next episode and casting calls for future CW cycles were shown on the left side of the screen with the studio credits on the right). In contrast, at The WB, advertising for its shows continued during network time periods, with promos for The CW mixed in, and the network's standard closing credits format remained unchanged with promos in the upper two-thirds of the screen and credits in the lower third.

The networks also filled spare timeslots with low-cost movies on some weeks (including UPN on Wednesday night and The WB during its infamous "Friday night death slot"), and reruns and unaired episodes of long-cancelled programs, such as the sketch comedy series Blue Collar TV on Wednesday nights, and repeat and unaired episodes of the dramedy Just Legal on Sunday nights (both on The WB). Prior to the MyNetworkTV announcement, many stations (including those snubbed by The CW) had reportedly begun to search for new programming to fill empty timeslots, which had been likely to further boost the fortunes of the syndication industry. Ironically, one of those syndicated offerings, Desire, eventually became part of MyNetworkTV's fall 2006 schedule.[44]

Other affiliate repercussions[edit]

Following the CW announcement, the fate of many WB and UPN affiliates changed drastically. On January 27, 2006, KQEG-CA (channel 23) in La Crosse, Wisconsin dropped its UPN affiliation, becoming the first station to disaffiliate from a partner network due to the CW announcement; it retained its FamilyNet affiliation.

Many affected affiliates took similar measures. Following the May 2006 sweeps period, many stations began to pre-empt UPN and WB programming for a variety of reasons. In the Green Bay/Appleton market, future MyNetworkTV affiliate WACY (channel 32), on June 5, opted to replace programs that aired during UPN's second hour of primetime (except for Veronica Mars) whenever possible with infomercials.[45] In Cincinnati, eventual independent station WBQC-LP (channel 25) moved its UPN programming on July 4 to between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. early Tuesday to Saturday morning, with the intention of promoting the station's "Independence Day" programming in its place.[46]

Another eventual independent station, KPNZ (channel 24) in Salt Lake City, dropped UPN programming in June 2006 with no replacement affiliate for the remaining two months (KPNZ is now an owned-and-operated station of Spanish-language network Estrella TV). In Springfield, Massachusetts, WB 100+ cable channel WBQT was at one point referred as a CW affiliate on the official website and even started advertising as such, but due to a lack of confirmation, the channel's call letters (which were fictional as WB 100+ stations were not licensed by the FCC due to being cable-only services) were removed. However, on August 29, 2006, WBQT signed a formal affiliation agreement with The CW as a member channel of The CW Plus. In 2015, WBQT was dissolved, with The CW Plus moving over-the-air to NBC affiliate WWLP's second subchannel.

Before the merger, the cash-strapped Granite Broadcasting Corporation had reached an agreement to sell its WB affiliates in San Francisco and Detroit to AM Media, a unit of private-equity firm Acon Investments. With The CW choosing to affiliate with CBS-owned UPN stations in those markets, the Granite-AM Media deal eventually collapsed, and Granite responded by deciding to instead sell the stations to DS Audible, LLC for a lesser price. Granite later announced that it would sue CBS and Time Warner over the failed deal.[47] On July 18, 2006, the deal to sell to DS Audible also fell apart, and on December 11, 2006, Granite filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization after missing an interest payment on its $400 million+ debt.[48][49] Granite emerged from bankruptcy in June 2007 under control of Silver Point Capital, which also took over another bankrupt broadcasting company, Communications Corporation of America (a key Fox affiliate group in smaller markets within the Southern U.S.), later that year. As of 2019, Granite has since sold both stations to separate parties.

In New Orleans, CBS filed a lawsuit against Belo, owner of market-dominant CBS affiliate WWL-TV (channel 4), in February 2006 over allegations that Belo tried to renege on the terms of buying WUPL after Tribune-owned WNOL (channel 38) was named the market's CW affiliate (but before WUPL's affiliation with MyNetworkTV was announced). The deal, already complicated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which caused catastrophic damage to much of the Greater New Orleans area, would have created a duopoly between WWL-TV and WUPL with both stations merging into WWL's longtime studios on Rampart Street in New Orleans' French Quarter.[50] All matters were eventually settled, and the deal closed in February 2007. However, the Belo purchase of WUPL delayed that station's transition to high definition until mid-2010 as the secondary master controls for WUPL at the WWL-TV facility were only capable of pillarboxed 4:3 standard definition broadcasts until the recent upgrades took place (the Gannett Company purchased WUPL and WWL-TV in 2013 as part of their acquisition of Belo, and has since been spun off to Gannett's broadcasting successor, Tegna).

UPN and The WB closures[edit]

UPN[edit]

UPN quietly ceased operations on Friday, September 15, 2006, with its usual airing of WWE Friday Night SmackDown!; in addition, some stations aired the network's usual, but optional, weekend repeat block. The low-key closure was not surprising given that in nine media markets, including the three largest, UPN was not available because the local affiliates were owned by Fox Television Stations and switched to its new network, MyNetworkTV, on September 5. UPN programs stopped airing on WPWR (channel 50) in Chicago and KUTP (channel 45) in Phoenix on September 1, and on the other seven Fox-owned stations (including WWOR-TV (channel 9) in New York City and KCOP (channel 13) in Los Angeles) the day before, August 31.

Several CW affiliates began airing SmackDown! and some other CW-renewed UPN programming a few weeks early to replace UPN affiliates that had switched to MyNetworkTV.[51] Otherwise, it was unclear whether MyNetworkTV affiliates would air UPN or WB programs at all.[52] Additionally, Tribune-owned Fox affiliate WXMI (channel 17) in Grand Rapids, Michigan aired Smackdown on tape delay between WXSP-CA (channel 15)'s switch to MyNetworkTV and the launch of WWMT (channel 3)'s digital subchannel as the local CW affiliate.

The WB[edit]

The WB closed on Sunday, September 17 with a five-hour block of pilot episodes of the network's past signature series, including Felicity, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which was a two-hour episode) and Dawson's Creek. Commercial breaks shown on the network that evening featured re-airings of past image campaigns and network promotions, promo spots given to cable networks that carried these shows in off-network syndication, as well as ads for each series' TV-on-DVD box set.[53]

After its final commercial break, a montage featuring stars of several of The WB's shows over the years was broadcast just prior to the network's shutdown, ending with a silhouette of former mascot Michigan J. Frog taking a final bow. This was followed by the studio credits for the pilot of Dawson's Creek;[54] the credits for the other three pilots that aired were shown in the network's standardized credits format. The final night of WB programming netted relatively low ratings, mustering only a share of 2, meaning just 2% of viewers were tuned into The WB on its final night.[55] The reasoning for the low ratings was due to the fact that WB affiliates in certain areas had already affiliated with MyNetworkTV at that network's launch, which rendered The WB's programming unavailable in these markets during its final two weeks of broadcasting. It also aired against the second ever game (a Cowboys–Washington rivalry game at Texas Stadium) of NBC Sunday Night Football, assuring fewer viewers due to the curiosity of the NFL's prime game now being on Sunday evenings.

That evening, after The WB shut down, some Tribune-owned affiliates that would join The CW when it launched the following night acknowledged the pending switchover within their newscasts, with most adopting their new CW station brands immediately. WPIX in New York City aired a montage of all of the logos used throughout the station's history leading up to the introduction of its new "CW11" logo before the start of its 10:00 p.m. newscast,[56] while KHCW (channel 39) in Houston aired a retrospective of the station's history during its 9:00 p.m. news. In Dallas–Fort Worth, KDAF (channel 33) had retitled its primetime newscast to CW33 News at Nine immediately following the end of WB programming, and featured a video clip of the signage being changed outside the station's studios (however, the old WB33 News at Nine bumper aired upon returning from the first commercial break that night).

Post-realignment[edit]

The CW[edit]

Since 2006, The CW and MyNetworkTV have struggled significantly in the Nielsen ratings, despite The CW showing initial signs of promise. The CW has usually finished fifth in the Nielsen ratings, even falling behind Spanish-language network Univision at times,[57] though it has come close to beating out NBC (which had similar ratings challenges beginning in the 2004–05 television season, before moderating in the 2012–13 season) on several occasions. However, The CW has had some successful series (by the standards of the network's viewership, which has rarely peaked above 4 million viewers for a single episode), such as Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries and Arrow. Additionally in 2008, concerns regarding the future of The CW led Tribune to begin rebranding its CW affiliates in a way that deemphasized its network affiliation,[58] and another major CW affiliate ownership group, Pappas Telecasting Companies, cited The CW's poor performance as a factor in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.[59] Pappas has since wound down operations, while most of Tribune's CW stations (with the exceptions of WPIX and KTLA, the latter of which only includes network references in promos for CW shows) began reincorporating references to their CW affiliation beginning in 2011.

The merger of UPN and The WB to form The CW has led to instability of the airings of WWE SmackDown, which had aired on UPN for its first seven years. After September 26, 2008, WWE Friday Night SmackDown left The CW for MyNetworkTV in large part due to The CW's newfound focus on targeting 18- to 34-year-old female viewers, though WWE would later air the short-lived WWE Saturday Morning Slam on The CW Saturday mornings. SmackDown eventually moved to cable as part of WWE's contract with NBCUniversal for its other programs, initially to Syfy in October 2010, prompted by a move back to Thursday nights in November 2014 (where it had originally aired before 2005), then to USA Network (longtime home to WWE Raw, save for a five-year period on The New TNN/Spike TV from 2000 to 2005) in January 2016, followed again by another move only six months later—this time to Tuesday nights—as part of the 2nd brand extension. SmackDown returned to broadcast television on Fox in October 2019, accompanied by a return to Friday nights, as part of Fox's emphasis on sports and live event programming due in part of the sale of much of 21st Century Fox to The Walt Disney Company.[60][61] The move of SmackDown back to broadcast television also poses a potential conflict of interest with Fox's largest affiliate group, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which purchased rival wrestling promotion Ring of Honor in 2011 after SmackDown had moved to cable.

In September 2008, The CW outsourced its five-hour Sunday block to Media Rights Capital (MRC) in order to concentrate on its weekday schedule.[62][63] The MRC-programmed Sunday lineup performed poorly in the ratings and was replaced by reruns and movies programmed by the network that November; The CW eventually gave back its Sunday primetime slots to the network's local affiliates in September 2009, reducing its prime time programming to weeknights only (and the network's programming to six days a week overall, when its Saturday morning children's lineup and weekday daytime block is accounted). The CW's ratings struggles eventually subsided in later years: the network beat NBC for the first time in the key demographic of Adults 18–49 for a single calendar night on November 21, 2013.[64] Other recent series successes (including the revival of the U.S. version of the improv comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Flash and Jane the Virgin) helped The CW increase its ratings year-over-year by the 2014–15 season – at which point, The CW posted its highest season average total viewership since the 2007–08 season with 2.15 million.[65][66]

MyNetworkTV[edit]

Since its launch, MyNetworkTV has struggled to gain an audience. In 2009, it was announced that the network would convert to a syndicated programming service, and since SmackDown moved to Syfy in October 2010,[67] MyNetworkTV has been devoid of first-run programming other than that shared with syndicators, and can be more fairly compared to Ion Television, which also carries the same type of scheduling pattern, on a broader all-day basis.

In many markets (mainly in smaller and lower-tier mid-sized markets), it now shares channel space with other full-time subchannel networks such as Antenna TV or MeTV and is more apt to air out of prime time on several affiliates (in Monroe, Louisiana, for instance, after their first affiliate left the airwaves completely and their second affiliate ended carriage to become a full-time religious station, it now is carried in the graveyard slot on a CW Plus subchannel of KNOE-TV, mainly to overlay dead time that would only be filled with paid programming). In September 2015, West Coast flagship KCOP-TV in Los Angeles moved MyNetworkTV programming to late night, both replacing it with lower-tier entertainment newsmagazines in primetime, and freeing Fox sister station KTTV of any in-house competition in primetime, though it returned to primetime after those programs flopped, until the summer of 2021, when it resumed airing MyNetworkTV in late night. In Chicago, WPWR-TV moved the lineup to nearly out of primetime on September 1, 2016, upon assuming the CW affiliation from WGN-TV which became an independent station. WPWR-TV would lose its affiliation with the CW in September 2019 and the network's programs would move to WCIU-TV, but retained the same scheduling of MyNetworkTV programming.[68][69][70] A similar move happened in Cleveland in July 2018 when MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB unexpectedly assumed the CW affiliation from WBNX-TV while keeping its MyNetworkTV affiliation in the late-night hours temporarily; it was eventually bumped to sister station WOIO's MeTV subchannel in January 2019, immediately after Gray Television assumed ownership over the former Raycom Media stations.

See also[edit]

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