New Nets Left Out in the Cold By Critics

Jan 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With reactions like these, you’d think The CW and MyNetworkTV ran nothing but O.J. Simpson interviews.

Though television industry response to the newly formed The CW has been marginally positive, and response to MyNetworkTV merely slightly negative, critics nationwide had almost nothing but outright scorn for both ventures.

The CW, ran the refrain, is a “bland, faceless, forgettable” mishmash of old shows with an annoying green moniker.

MyNetworkTV, critics wrote, is “disposable television.”

Specifically, critics were first asked their opinion of The CW’s brand and programming. Many were taken aback by the question’s assumption the network has a brand in the first place.

“The CW has yet to assume a unique identity,” wrote Terry Morrow, Knoxville News Sentinel.

Ronda Racha Penrice, Uptown Magazine, agreed. “The brand isn’t clearly distinguishable in practice,” she wrote. “So far it’s not the brash and youthful alternative we were promised.”

Some critics were still incredulous over the network’s name. “Didn’t anyone tell the people who named the network that for most people, CW stands for country-Western?” wrote Robert Philpot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Critics typically took issue with the network’s lack of original programs, and a couple wrote that confused readers still ask them whatever happened to former UPN or The WB shows such as “Veronica Mars.”

“They’ve flown so far under the radar that I don’t think many people know they exist,” wrote Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic.

As for MyNetwork, critics were asked whether the network should continue with its pure telenovela format and, if not, what else should be programmed instead.

Some were hostile about the telenovelas and the network, saying MyNetwork got the ratings it deserved by not spending more money on programming. “Porn is the only thing that can bring up its ratings at this point,” wrote Doug Elfman, Chicago Sun-Times.

Others suggested adding reality and game shows, user-generated content or repurposed shows from other networks. One unique suggestion was from Hal Boedeker, Orlando Sentinel, who wrote, “Why not try prime-time talk? It’s working for Fox News.”

Several critics wrote the telenovela formats can work if executed more effectively.

William LaRue, Syracuse Post-Standard, called the format a “noble experiment,” while USA Today’s Robert Bianco declared: “The format is not the problem. Doing the format poorly is the problem.”

Kevin Dickson, In Touch Weekly, said the telenovelas should continue. “But they need better writers,” he wrote. “You can’t write good-bad TV on purpose. You have to strive for good, and let the low budget do the rest.”