Radio-TV Broadcast History
The CW Television Network
The CW logo
TypeBroadcast television network
CountryUnited States
AvailabilityUnited States, Canada, northern Mexico
SloganEvery Night Is Good
OwnerCBS Corporation-50%
Warner Brothers-50%
Key peopleDawn Ostroff
John Maatta
Launch dateSeptember 18 2006
Former namesThe WB, UPN

The CW Television Network (The CW) is a television network in the United States launched at the beginning of the 2006-2007 television season. It is a joint venture between CBS Corporation, owners of UPN, and Warner Brothers, majority owner of The WB. The name was derived from the first letter of the names of two of these corporations (CBS and Warner Brothers). It features a mixture of programming from both UPN and The WB television networks, which ceased independent operations on September 15 and September 17 2006 respectively. According to The CW's President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff, the network's "shows are going to appeal to women 18 to 34-year-olds."[1]

The structured settlement annuity companies began operations on Monday, September 18 2006 with two nights of reruns and launch-related specials; however, The CW marketed its formal launch date on September 20 2006, with the 2-hour season premiere of America's Next Top Model.

In trade magazines like Variety, The Cat fish CW is referred to as The Green Network, most likely since its logos and campaign were (and still are) in green, or in reference to it as the newest broadcast network (in terms of finding its footing).

The network has recently struggled in the Nielsen ratings, a downturn caused in part by the 2007-2008 WGA strike, the resulting decrease in scripted programming, and its target audience turning to the internet and other sources for their entertainment. This has led to speculation in the industry (including a May 16 2008 Wall Street Journal article[2]) that the structure of financial statement of limited liability companies could face a possible disbandment if its ratings do not improve.

According to Dawn Ostroff, there is a possibility of launching a 2009-2010 season as early as July or August of 2009.[3]


See also: 2006 United States broadcast TV realignment

The CW is a successor to The WB and UPN, both of which launched in January 1995. However, both networks can be seen as descendants of the Prime Time Entertainment Network, a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Chris-Craft Industries, which launched in 1993. The two companies later became partners in The WB and UPN, respectively, and PTEN continued as a separate syndication service until folding in 1997.

Both UPN and The WB started just as the FOX network had begun to secure a foothold in the American viewing lineup. Both launched to limited fanfare and generally poor results. However, in the subsequent 11 1/2 seasons, both networks were able to air several series that became quite popular, such as 7th Heaven, Everwood, Star Trek: Voyager and Smallville.

However, towards the end of their opening decade, the networks were in decline, unable to reach the audience or have the effect that Fox had gained within its first decade, much less that of the Big Three of ABC, CBS, and NBC. In the eleven years UPN and the WB were on the air, the two networks lost a combined $2 billion.[4]

CBS chairman Les 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[5] that there was "zero chance" the name would change, citing research claiming 48% of the target demographic was already aware of the CW name. At the network's first upfront presentation — May 18 2006 — a new logo was unveiled to replace the provisional blue-rectangle logo used in January. The logo is a green-and-white insignia which has drawn comparisons to the logo of CNN, another company with Time Warner ownership interest.

Like both UPN and The WB, The CW targets its programming to younger audiences. CBS and Warner Bros. hoped that combining their networks' schedules and station lineups would strengthen The CW into a fifth "major" broadcast network. Unlike the "Big Four" or Principal of good, The CW vaunted no plans to offer national news or sports programming to their affiliates; however, some stations do broadcast local news and/or sports, and many air the nationally syndicated Orlando-based morning show, The Daily Buzz.

On September 11 2006, a new, full version of the network website,, was launched. The website now contains links to The CW4Kids and now features more in-depth information of CW shows.

"The New CW" launched with a premiere special/launch party from CBS-produced Entertainment Tonight at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on September 18 2006, after a repeat of the 7th Heaven 10th-season finale;[6] the same schedule was repeated on September 19 2006 with Gilmore Girls' 6th-season finale.[7] The network continued to air season finales from the previous season through the rest of the first week, except for America's Next Top Model and SmackDown!, which launched their new seasons on September 20-September 22 respectively, with full-night premieres. When America's Next Top Model launched on September 20, 2006, The CW scored a 3.4/5 (with hourly ratings of 3.1/5 and 3.6/6; The CW placed 5th overall) in the households and a 2.6 rating in the Adults 18-49 (The CW placed 4th in the A18-49) beating FOX's 2.2. The network's second week consisted of all season/series premieres for all other series from September 25-October 1, with the exception of Veronica Mars, which debuted its third season on October 3.[8]

WWE Friday Night SmackDown will stop airing on The CW after the 2007-2008 broadcast schedule due to negotiations ending between WWE and The CW Network. [9] The network later confirmed that the CW had chosen not to continue the WWE broadcast because the network had redefined its target audience as exclusively 18- to 34-year-old women.[4]

On May 9 2008, it was announced that The CW was selling the Sunday slot from 5:00-10:00 p.m. ET;[10] Media Rights Capital is being brought in by the network to produce shows during a slot that is often the most-watched night on broadcast television.



Following the network announcement, The CW immediately announced ten-year affiliation agreements with the Tribune Company and CBS Television Stations Group. Tribune originally committed 16 stations (including its flagship broadcast stations WGN-TV in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles and WPIX in New York; another committed station, KSWB/San Diego, will join Fox in August 2008) that were previously affiliated with The WB, while CBS committed 11 of its UPN stations (including WKBD in Detroit, WPSG in Philadelphia, KBHK-TV in San Francisco [now KBCW] and WUPA in Atlanta). These stations combine to reach 48 percent of the United States. Both groups also own several UPN/WB stations that did not join The CW in overlapping markets. As part of its agreement, Tribune agreed to divest its interest in The WB and did not take an ownership interest in The CW.

The network stated that it would eventually reach 95 percent of the United States. In markets where both UPN and The WB affiliates operate, only one station became a CW affiliate. Executives were on record as preferring the "strongest" stations among existing The WB and UPN affiliates. For example, the new network's first affiliate outside the core group of Tribune and CBS-owned stations, WJZY in Charlotte, was tied with Atlanta's WUPA as UPN's fifth-strongest station. In most cases, it was obvious where the new network would affiliate; there were only a few markets (for example, Philadelphia, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Charlotte) where the WB and UPN affiliates were both relatively strong.

Many of the affiliates were previously WB, or UPN, very few were independents prior to becoming the CW. One of the 1st to be announced was the consistent #1 WB affiliate in the Orlando/Central FL market, WKCF. After becoming a CW affiliate, they did not immediately become the #1 CW affiliate, but roughly after 1 year, WKCF resumed their roll as the top CW affiliate. Winning multiple awards for promotions and viewing, just as they did as a WB affiliate.

Although it was generally understood that The CW was a merger of UPN and The WB, the new network's creation was not structured as a merger in the legal sense. Rather, it was a new network launching at the same time as two others shut down. As such, The CW was not obligated by existing affiliations with The WB and UPN. It had to negotiate from scratch with individual stations.

As a result, in several markets, the CW affiliate is a different station than either the former The WB and UPN stations. In Helena, Montana, ION affiliate KMTF became a CW station. In Honolulu, Hawaii, The CW did not appear until early December 2006 where it is carried on a digital subchannel of local FOX affiliate KHON-TV. In Las Vegas, Nevada, independent station KVCW signed for CW affiliation. The network has also affiliated with some digital channels money, usually newly-launched subchannels of a local Big Four affiliate, in several other markets.

Due to the availability of "instant duopoly" digital subchannels that will likely be easily available on cable and satellite, and the overall lack of a need to settle for a secondary affiliation with shows aired in problematic timeslots, both The CW and MyNetworkTV launched with far greater national coverage than that enjoyed by UPN and The WB when they started in 1995. UPN for several years had gaps in the top 30 markets, and by 2005 managed to cover only 86% of the country. This resulted in secondary affiliations with other networks and the resulting diluted ratings when programs were shown out of their intended timeslots, or the lack of the program airing at all (a problem experienced by many Star Trek fans with Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise).

Launching repercussions[]

The announcement of The CW caused the largest single shakeup of U.S. broadcast television since the Fox/New World Communications alliance of 1994 and the subsequent launches of UPN and The WB the following year. While The CW debut affected more markets, it was unlikely to cause the same degree of viewer confusion, as no affiliates of the four major networks dropped those affiliations to join The CW. (Some "big four" affiliations did change at this time, but for unrelated reasons.)

The WB and UPN were the first major television networks to close since the collapse of the DuMont Television Network in 1955, although other small broadcast television networks have also ceased operations over the years.

It became clear that the Fox Television Stations, which purchased several UPN affiliates from former UPN co-owner Chris-Craft Industries in 2002, was impacted. Its UPN affiliates in five major markets would not be affiliated with The CW, due to the agreement with Tribune, and Fox made it clear it would not even seek the affiliation for its four UPN stations elsewhere. All UPN logos and network references were quickly removed from their stations. Shortly thereafter, Fox announced that it was starting MyNetworkTV, a programming service meant to fill the two nightly prime time hours that opened up on its UPN-affiliated stations after the start of The CW. Fox also offered the service to other stations.[11]

In those media markets where there were separate The WB and UPN stations, one local station was left out in the merger; most of those stations have signed with MyNetworkTV while others elected to become independent stations. Some stations (mainly digital subchannels, some WB 100+ cable channels, and struggling low-power stations) which received neither network's affiliation opted instead to sign off permanently and cease to exist.

Problems with Time Warner Cable[]

A number of households around the country were not able to see the new network when it premiered on September 18, due to stations in several markets not being able to strike a deal with Time Warner Cable. In markets like Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; Palm Springs, California; Beaumont, Texas; Waco, Texas; and Corpus Christi, Texas, where the CW is broadcast on a digital subchannel of the station's primary affiliate, there have been unsuccessful attempts in getting Time Warner Cable to carry The CW on their basic cable lineups.[12] The CW is 50% owned by Time Warner Cable's parent company, Time Warner.

Some affiliates have since signed deals with Time Warner Cable, but not all stations have landed within the analog listings. For example, WSTQ in Syracuse, New York can only be viewed on channel 266.[13]

Currently, the largest market without a known affiliate is the Johnstown / Altoona market, Nielsen's DMA #99. WPCW channel 19, in Pittsburgh, is the closest affiliate and is carried on both Johnstown and Altoona's cable systems; WPCW was originally targeted to serve that area before a switch to a Pittsburgh focus in the late 90's.

On February 2 2007 at 4:30 p.m., KFDM-TV made its CW affiliated available to Time Warner Cable in Beaumont, Texas on Channel 10 and also available on Digital 6.2. Although the Southeast Texas CW Logo is on commercials made by KFDM-TV, on the television shows the bug is just "the CW".

On Saturday, April 21 2007 at 12:01 a.m., KCWQ-LP made its broadcast debut on channel 5 on Time Warner Cable in the Palm Springs area.[14]

On Friday, April 20 2007 at 11:00 a.m., KVIA-TV, began broadcasting the CW on Time Warner cable channel 13. The signal is also available on digital television 7.2.[15]

Pappas Telecasting bankruptcy[]

One of the major affiliate groups of the network, Pappas Telecasting, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for thirteen of their stations on May 10, 2008. Within the petition, Pappas specifically cited the network's low ratings and performance as one of many complications (including the declining advertising market, the cost associated with the digital switchover and a tenuous relationship with a Spanish-language network) that had forced it to take the action [16].

Although the company had originally stated that no stations would be affected at all by the closing, one Pappas station with CW affiliation has ceased operations. On May 29, 2008, KCWK, a Yakima, Washington-based station serving the south central portion of that state, went off the air and the station's offices were closed, leaving that area without locally based CW programming and forcing cable and satellite companies to carry KTLA from Los Angeles on their systems to provide the network to their viewers.

Tribune's Fox deal[]

It should be noted that while they have solid affiliation deals with The CW, Tribune also has affiliation deals with Fox. But with new management and ownership taking place, it was appearant that Tribune would start moving one of its CW-affiliated stations to Fox (at least those in markets without a Fox O&O station or a former O&O now owned by Local TV LLC), adding to more questions surrounding the network's future. In a seminar by Sam Zell in March 2008, it was revealed that their San Diego outlet KSWB will switch affiliations from The CW to Fox. The change will happen on August 1, 2008 assuming the Fox affiliation from XETV, who had been a Fox affiliate since the network's March 16, 1987 debut. XETV, which is licensed to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico under the ownership of Televisa but whose US operations are programmed by Bay City TV, was caught off guard and was not informed of Zell's deal until it was made public in the trades[17]. After the surprising news was made, XETV planned on fighting the affiliation switch in court saying the switch violates a contract XETV has with Fox to run until 2010. But on July 2, 2008, XETV announced that they will be the new home of The CW, and on the same day KSWB becomes Fox5, XETV will re brand itself as "San Diego's 6, the new home of The CW."[18]


"Free to Be"[]

File:The CW.jpg

A screenshot from a CW promo featuring a special CW remix version of "Here I Come", a song by Fergie and Note the "Free to be" branding.

The network's original full marketing campaign, "Free to Be", was created internally and by the Troika Design Group brand agency.[19] The campaign included advertisements in bus stops, on billboards, on the Internet, in magazines, and on television. It contained stars of the CW shows such as Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Supernatural, America's Next Top Model, Smallville and One Tree Hill with their signature green background. The "Free to Be" was followed by a word unique to the character, show, or scene. Such descriptives have included "witty" (to describe Gilmore Girls), "super" (Smallville), "scary" (Supernatural), "fierce" (America's Next Top Model), "cool" (One Tree Hill), "funny" (Everybody Hates Chris), "fearless" (Veronica Mars), "fabulous" (Girlfriends), "family" (7th Heaven) and "tough" (WWE Friday Night SmackDown). Some additional spots are themed for other purposes without CW stars, for example "Free to be tricky" for Halloween and "Free to be famous" for The CW Daytime. The ads normally include one more descriptive—"together"—used to unify the network and its programming with the viewer.

File:Get Into The CW.png

A CW "Get Into It" promo presented at the 2007 upfronts and aired in a thirty second promo format on the network.

"Get Into It"[]

On August 6 2007, The CW launched their second marketing campaign, "Get Into It". The lead singer of Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger[20]. The original title for the song is "Puakenikeni", which is the third single from Nicole's debut album Her Name Is Nicole. A remix is now used during the commercials with Nicole singing into a microphone surrounded by video screens showing CW programming.

"Good Night"[]

File:Everynight is a Good Night.png

A shot of the new CW promo featuring music by Maroon 5

On June 2008, The CW launched their fall 2008 marketing campaign, "Everynight will be a good night". The song in this campaign is "Goodnight Goodnight" by Maroon 5.

Imaging and presentation[]

  • The CW displays the program credits on the bottom 1/3 of the screen along with The CW logo and website address. The top 2/3 displays previews of upcoming programming from The CW, local newscasts, or other local programming.
  • Most affiliates added their city or region to their new bugs. For example: WPSG is "The CW Philly", WLVI-TV was "Boston's CW" at launch but has since rebranded to "CW56" under new ownership, WUPA "CW Atlanta" at launch but has since rebranded to "CW69", KWTX DT 2 (Waco,TX) is now "CW Texas", and KVCW (formerly KFBT) is now "CW Las Vegas". However, some stations opted to use their channel number: WNAB in Nashville is now "CW58", and WPIX in New York and KSTW in Seattle are now "CW11". Some stations will still use the call sign in either the station logo, on-air identification or both. Some examples include WGN in Chicago, KTLA in Los Angeles, WNLO in Buffalo, New York, WWHO in Columbus, Ohio, and WBNX in Cleveland. In Omaha, Nebraska, KXVO uses "CW15" and "Omaha's CW". In Honolulu, Hawaii, KHON-DT2 is branded as "Hawaii's CW 93" (the "93" refers to the subchannel's cable channel position). The branding used by WKRC-DT in Cincinnati, Ohio is "CinCW", a portmanteau with "Cincy", a common nickname for the city.


  • From time to time, The CW airs short programming breaks called "Content Wraps", — a play on the network's name, to advertise one company's product during an entire commercial break.
  • CW Now was inspired in part by the success of the Content Wraps as it will be a series with product placement.[21] The series was cancelled after 23 episodes.
  • On January 18 2007, The CW began streaming full-length episodes of several programs.
  • The CW's official website includes more features than either UPN's or The WB's combined. The site features ringtones, wallpapers, an online store, games, a message board, promotional pictures, an episode guide, advertisements for the next episode, cast information, and, in some cases, an online poll that discusses upcoming show story lines.
  • On December 15 2006, CBS Corporation revived its record label, CBS Records, whose artists' music will be available to programs on The CW.[22]


Template:Main The CW Network airs a 13-hour primetime lineup including Monday through Friday nights from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET; Sundays from 7:00-10:00 p.m. ET; Sunday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. ET. Outside of prime time as well as a Monday-Friday afternoon block from 3:00-5:00 p.m. ET and a five-hour Saturday morning animation block. Altogether, the network programs 30 hours per week over seven days.

Prime time[]

Returning comedies are in red; new comedies are in pink; returning dramas are in green; new dramas are in blue; returning reality shows are in yellow; new reality shows are in gold; sports entertainment programming is in purple.

All times are Eastern and Pacific (subtract one hour for Central and Mountain time).

6:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
Sunday Gossip Girl One Tree Hill Everybody Hates Chris Aliens in America The Game Girlfriends
Monday Local Programming Gossip Girl One Tree Hill
Tuesday Beauty and the Geek Reaper
Wednesday America's Next Top Model Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious
Thursday Smallville Supernatural
Friday WWE Friday Night SmackDown


Fall 2008[]

6:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
Sunday In Harm's Way Surviving Suburbia Valentine, Inc. Easy Money
Monday Local Programming Gossip Girl One Tree Hill
Tuesday 90210 Privileged
Wednesday America's Next Top Model Stylista
Thursday Smallville Supernatural
Friday Everybody Hates Chris The Game Keep Track
  • The CW will allow Media Rights Capital the rights to program their Sunday night line-up, including the EasyView block (5 p.m. - 10 p.m.).[23][24][25]



  1. "90210" Upfront and Center for CW, Hollywood Reporter, May 13 2008
  2. It's No Gossip: Ratings Slip Threatens CW Network, Wall Street Journal, May 16 2008
  3. CW's Ostroff Looks for Early 2009-10 Season Launch, Mediaweek, July 19 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 It's No Gossip, Ratings Slip Threatens CW Network, Wall Street Journal May 16 2008
  5. CW Staying CW, Says Moonves - 3/15/2006 7:38:00 PM - Broadcasting & Cable
  6. CW Staggers Its Debut - New net will roll out schedule over two weeks - Zap2it
  7. TV Guide, September 11 2006, pg. 8
  8. the futon critic - the web's best primetime television resource
  9. [1]
  10. The CW "Outsources" Its Sunday-Night Block; Two Dramas, Two Comedies Coming, TV Guide, May 9 2008
  11. News Corporation
  12. Time Warner Cable Squeezes CW Stations - 10/2/2006 - Broadcasting & Cable
  13. The Ithaca Journal - - Ithaca, NY
  14. CW to debut on Time Warner, The Desert Sun, April 20 2007
  15. The CW Wait Over, KVIA, April 19, 2007
  17. Template:Cite url
  18. from (July 2, 2008)
  19. Elliott, Stuart. "New CW network works to build a brand". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 25, 2006.
  20. CWTV > Nicole Scherzinger
  21. "CW Now": Content or Commercial?
  22. CBS Records
  23. Schneider, Michael (2008-05-26). "MRC unveils CW's Sunday slate", Variety. Retrieved on 2008-05-28. 
  24. MRC Unveils Four Shows for CW Sunday
  25. The CW Announces Schedule for 2008-2009 Season, The CW Blog, May 13 2008

External links[]

Press releases[]

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