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The CW

The cw is an American broadcast television network that is operated by The CW Network, LLC, a limited liability joint venture between CBS Corporation, the former owners of the United Paramount Network (UPN), and the Warner Bros. Entertainment division of Time Warner, former majority owner of The WB Television Network. The “CW” name is an abbreviation derived from the first letters of the names of its two parent corporations (CBS and Warner Bros.).

The network made its debut on September 18, 2006, after its two predecessors, UPN and The WB, respectively ceased independent operations on September 15 and 17 of that year. The CW’s first two nights of programming – on September 18 and 19, 2006 – consisted of reruns and launch-related specials. The CW marked its formal launch date on September 20, 2006, with the two-hour premiere of the seventh cycle of America’s Next Top Model. As of 2008, the network’s programming lineup was intended to appeal mainly to women between the ages of 18 and 34, although starting in 2011 the network increased in programming that appeal to men. The network currently runs programming six days a week: airing Monday through Fridays in the afternoon and in prime time, along with a Saturday morning live-action educational programming block produced by Litton Entertainment called One Magnificent Morning.

CW is also available in Canada on cable, satellite and IPTV providers through stations owned-and-operated by CBS Corporation and affiliates that are located within proximity to the Canada–United States border (whose broadcasts of CW shows are subject to simultaneous substitution laws imposed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, if a Canadian network holds the broadcast rights); it is also available through two affiliates owned by Tribune Media that are classified in that country as superstations – New York City affiliate WPIX and Los Angeles affiliate KTLA.

CW is also available in Mexico through affiliates located near the Mexico–U.S. border (such as XETV-TDT/Tijuana-San Diego, KECY-DT3 in El Centro, California, KVIA-DT2 in El Paso, and KCWT-CD and simulcasters KFXV-LD2 and KNVO-DT4 in McAllen–Brownsville, Texas) on pay television providers. In both countries, some CW affiliates are receivable over-the-air in border areas depending on the station’s signal coverage.


  • 1History
    • 1.11993–2006: Origins
    • 1.22006–2011: Beginnings
    • 1.32011–2012: New leadership
    • 1.42012–present: Breakthrough
  • 2Programming
    • 2.1Children’s programming
  • 3Differences between The CW and the “Big Four” networks
    • 3.1Network programming and scheduling
    • 3.2Affiliate distribution
      • 3.2.1Digital multicasting and cable television
    • 3.3News programming
  • 4Stations
    • 4.1Overview
    • 4.2Launch repercussions
    • 4.3Affiliate issues
      • 4.3.1Problems with Time Warner Cable
      • 4.3.2Pappas Telecasting bankruptcy
      • 4.3.3Marianas Media bankruptcy
      • 4.3.4Tribune’s relations with The CW and their de-emphasis of the network’s brand
      • 4.3.5Roberts Broadcasting bankruptcy
    • 4.4Station standardization
  • 5Related services
    • 5.1Video-on-demand services
    • 5.2The CW HD
  • 6Marketing and multimedia
  • 7See also
  • 8Footnotes
  • 9Further reading
  • 10External links


1993–2006: Origins

Main articles: The WB and UPN
The CW’s original pre-launch logo. At the network’s first upfront presentation on May 18, 2006, the provisional blue-and-white rectangle logo that was used during the network’s formation announcement in January was replaced by a green-and-white, curved-letter insignia that drew comparisons to the logo used by CNN, another company with Time Warner ownership interest.

The CW Television Network is a successor to The WB and the United Paramount Network (UPN), both of which launched within one week of each other in January 1995, with the former making its debut first on January 11 and the latter premiering five days later on January 16.

UPN and The WB both began just as the Fox network had started to secure a foothold with American television audiences. The two networks launched to limited fanfare and generally mediocre to poor results. However, over the subsequent 1112 seasons, both were able to air several series that became quite popular (such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Voyager, 7th Heaven, Dawson’s Creek and Charmed). Towards the end of their first decade on the air, The WB and UPN were in decline, unable to reach the audience share or have the effect that Fox had gained within its first decade, much less that of the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). In the eleven years that UPN and The WB were in operation, the two networks lost a combined $2 billion. Incidentally, Chris-Craft Industries, Viacom and Time Warner officials had discussed a possible merger of UPN and The WB as early as September 1995, only nine months after their respective launches; however, discussions ultimately broke down over issues on how to combine Chris-Craft and Tribune Broadcasting’s station interests in the proposal to merge the networks, since the two companies’ station portfolios overlapped with one another in several major markets than facing questionable futures as separate networks.

Executives from CBS and Time Warner announced on January 24, 2006, that they would respectively shut down UPN and The WB, and combine resources to form a new broadcast network, to be known as The CW Television Network, that would – at the outset – feature programming from both of its predecessors-to-be as well as new content developed specifically for the new network. CBS chairman Leslie Moonves explained that the name of the new network was formed from the first letters of CBS and Warner Bros, joking, “We couldn’t call it the WC for obvious reasons.” Although some executives reportedly disliked the new name, Moonves stated in March 2006 that there was “zero chance” the name would change, citing research claiming 48% of the target demographic were already aware of the CW name.

In May 2006, The CW announced that it would pick up a combined thirteen programs from its two predecessors to air as part of the network’s inaugural fall schedule: seven series held over from The WB (7th Heaven, Beauty and the Geek, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Reba, Smallville and Supernatural) and six held over from UPN (America’s Next Top Model, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, All of Us and WWE SmackDown). Upon the network’s launch, The CW chose to use the scheduling model utilized by The WB due in part to the fact that it had a more extensive base programming schedule than UPN, allowing for a larger total of weekly programming hours for the new network to fill. (The WB carried 30 hours of programming each week because of its having a children’s program block and a daytime lineup that UPN did not offer; UPN was primarily a prime time-only network with 12 weekly hours of network programming at the time of the network’s shutdown).

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