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|08-23-2008, 01:46 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 09, 2001
CBS, WB give CW vote of confidence
CW Parents Emphasize Support of Network
By Josef Adalian
As the CW prepares for next month's launch of its super-hyped drama
"90210," the leaders of parent companies CBS Corp. and Warner Bros.
are offering an emphatic vote of confidence in the network.
In a letter to CW employees and affiliates delivered this morning, the
executives—Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum of Warner Bros. and Leslie
Moonves and Nancy Tellem of CBS—acknowledge that building a network is
"a difficult proposition" but state flatly that they "are dedicated to
the CW" and that they "stand squarely behind you, and are committed to
doing what is necessary to ensure the success of the CW venture."
"We support the network, believe in it, and are committed to its
future," the executives add later in the letter, a copy of which was
obtained by TelevisionWeek. "All of us must continue to work hard and
push everyday to aggressively compete in this marketplace. Our success
will be born of focused and sustained effort over the course of the
next few years."
The letter also makes it clear that the CW is a part of both CBS's and
Warner Bros.' business strategies.
"CBS and Warner Bros., through the CW, are collaborating to create
valuable content assets and build a network that benefits all our
business partners and our respective corporate entities," the
The letter comes just a few weeks after Ms. Tellem and Mr. Rosenblum
made an unannounced visit to a meeting of the CW's current programming
department. The pop-in was meant to convey the message that CBS and
Warner Bros. were on the same page when it came to the network. The
missive seems designed to underscore that message and eliminate any
talk that CBS and Warner Bros. might have divergent interests.
In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that one of the partners in
the CW might abandon the network next year if ratings didn't improve.
Like most of the networks, the CW was hit hard by last year's writers
strike and saw its ratings among adults 18-49 drop by about 15 percent
Despite developing some of the most buzzed-about shows of recent years
—"Gossip Girl," "90210," "Aliens in America"—the CW has struggled to
get the attention of its core audience of younger viewers. The Sept. 1
relaunch of "Gossip Girl" and the Sept. 2 premiere of "90210" will be
critical indicators of how tough the upcoming season will be.
In their letter, the four executives—all of whom sit on the CW's board
of directors—went out of their way to point out the CW's
accomplishments and to thank staffers for their work.
"We presented Madison Avenue with 'Content Wraps" and "Quickies',"
they wrote, pointing out advertising formats the network introduced.
"We up-ended the American pop culture with the creation of 'Gossip
Girl'. Now, The CW has created '90210,' the most anticipated and
buzzed-about show of the new television season," the letter states.
"All of this has been supported by the most innovative and talked-
about marketing campaigns in recent memory, and along the way we have
been embraced by every important constituency from advertisers to
affiliates and even the press," the letter said.
The full text of the letter follows:
In a nutshell this is what's wrong with the CW in my estimation:
*Letting Dawn Ostroff run the network into the ground. Ms. Ostroff used to work at Lifetime before coming over to UPN. This shows, in how she now desires the CW to be the network for the young female demographic. But what Dawn Ostroff doesn't seem to fully realize that when you're running what's supposed to be a major broadcast TV network (to compete with CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX), you have to cater as to as many demographics as possible (rather than one particular niche market that you would expect from cable).
*Turning their backs on the urban demographic, when UPN and WB had in the past, courted them when the other networks wouldn't. They cancelled "Girlfriends", "All of Us", "One on One", and moved "Everybody Hates Chris" all over the schedule with virtually little advertising.
*Poorly advertising shows that have or had a loyal following like "Supernatural" and "Veronica Mars".
*Putting all of their eggs in the "Gossip Girl"/"America's Next Top Model" basket. Just look at the CW's upcoming fall schedule. There's virtually little variety or diversity. All of the most hyped shows (e.g. "90210", "Privileged", etc.) fall into the "rich, pretty white kids" category.
*Dumping "SmackDown!" (for the sake of attracting more young female viewers) even though it was the highest rated show on the network, and got respectable ratings in what's otherwise considered the "Friday Night Death Slot".
*Cancelling "Everwood" in favor of an 11th season of "7th Heaven" just so that particular show can get cancelled again. Dawn Ostroff's logic for bringing "7th Heaven" back for one more year was because it simply got high ratings for its series finale on the WB.
*Pulling "Reba" off of the air even though it was the highest rated sitcom on the WB at the time that it shut down. Just like with "SmackDown!", Dawn Ostroff cited that the show didn't fit in with the CW's newly desired target demographic.
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