In a shocking move today, the newly formed CBS Corporation and Time Warner have agreed to shutdown their smaller TV networks, the WB and UPN. Keeping their popular programming alive, the two major media corporations will launch the "CW" network in the fall season of 2006. Network executives from UPN and WB will combine to run the new network, CW and will make decisions about which programs they will renew for the new network in the fall. Often referred to as "Netlets" for their inability to crack the "big 4" ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in the eyes of the viewers and the public, the folding of the WB and UPN is a significant move in the media marketplace.
As cable television continues to dominate the marketplace with channels aimed at targeted "niche" audience, networks have been left scratching their heads to compete. Cable has been grabbing ratings from the networks continuously for the past decade and is impacting the business-side of television. The underlying point is that the television landscape is changing and this is just another large media merger within the entertainment industry. The real winner is Time Warner who would earn a 50% stake in a possible 5th large network.
Major outlets have already began to weigh in: