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Profile: The Fifth Network

Jan 30, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Ownership: 50-50 partnership between CBS Corp. and Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Entertainment. Tribune Co., which owns a 22 percent stake in The WB, will not have an ownership stake in the new network, giving up The WB interest in exchange for not being on the hook for costs associated with shutting down The WB.

Launch plans: Scheduled for September 2006, following the shutdown of operations at The WB and UPN.

Leadership: Dawn Ostroff, currently president of UPN, will become president of entertainment for The CW, overseeing programming and marketing; John Maatta, currently chief operating officer of The WB, will become COO of The CW, responsible for advertising sales, finance, distribution and business and legal affairs.

Station affiliates: 16 Tribune affiliates in the following markets: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Boston; Dallas; Washington; Houston; Miami; Denver; St. Louis; Portland, Ore.; Indianapolis; San Diego; Hartford, Conn.; New Orleans; and Albany, N.Y.; and 12 CBS-owned affiliates in Philadelphia; San Francisco; Atlanta; Detroit; Tampa, Fla.; Seattle; Sacramento, Calif.; Pittsburgh; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Norfolk, Va.; Oklahoma City; and Providence, R.I.

The stations together cover 13 of the top 20 markets and cover more than 48 percent of the country. Additional affiliate deals are expected to bring the network’s total coverage to 95 percent.

Both Tribune and CBS will end up owning independent stations in three markets following the launch of the network. CBS’s independents will be in Boston, Dallas and Miami, while Tribune’s will be in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle.

Programming: The network will follow The WB’s current scheduling model, programming a six-night, 13-hour prime-time lineup plus a five-hour Saturday morning animation block. The prime-time lineup consists of Monday-Friday, 8-10 p.m., and Sunday, 7-10 p.m. In addition, The CW will program a two-hour block Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m., and Sunday, 5-7 p.m.

In all, the network will program 30 hours a week over seven days.

The CW will rely on existing programming from both The WB and UPN, and plans call for both CBS and Warner Bros. to jointly own many of the new series that will air on the network. Specific lineups have yet to be determined.

Sources: CBS Corp., Warner Bros. Entertainment and Tribune Co.