Tuesday, September 05, 2006

MyUnmitigatedDisaster?

Tonight is the official launch of MyNetworkTV, otherwise known as WeLostOurNetworkTV. (OK, so maybe it's otherwise known as that only to us.)

Some of the MyNetwork stations aired previews of the upcoming lineup of daily serials, including "Desire" and "Fashion House", last night. Local MNT outlet WUAB/43 in Cleveland, according to the station's schedule, stuck with whatever UPN aired on Monday.

What should you expect when the two "prime time daily soaps" show up on "My 43"? Not much, from what we've heard.

The BEST opinions we've read place the MyNetworkTV shows in the "pretty people, guilty pleasure" category. The worst, from some who've seen some of the early episodes, involve such phrases as "sub-cable access production values" and "ham-handed poor scripts with machismo", noting that the translated Latin American scripts being used fit poorly with U.S. sensibilities.

We'll leave the reviewing of the actual shows to capable folks like R.D. Heldenfels in the Akron Beacon Journal, or the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mark Dawidziak.

But it appears from everything we heard that MyNetworkTV - no spacing, please, much like an Internet URL... say, NewsCorp sister "MySpace.com" - looks and feels like something network executives hastily pulled from the syndication market when they found out that they were losing their existing network to another.

And that's how it affects MyNetwork affiliates like WUAB, Cincinnati's WSTR/64, and lesser lights like Toledo LPTVer WNGT-LP/48, and digital TV subchannel/cable channels in Columbus (WSYX/6's DT signal), Dayton (WRGT-DT) and Youngstown (WYTV-DT's "My YTV").

(Lima will get MNT via a delayed broadcast on FOX affiliate WOHL-LP/25. OMW also sees that WYTV will air the MNT programming on the main ABC affiliated channel at noon and 4 PM weekdays, at least the next week or two until new syndicated talk programming arrives.)

Simply put, a better programming option for those losing UPN or WB may have been filling the two hour prime-time block with strong syndicated programming, or even local news. Some newly independent stations have had success stripping syndicated talk shows like "Dr. Phil" into the prime-time hours.

But...in 2006, local TV is all about the identity.

You can't call your station "Oprah 5" or "Dr. Phil 3". At times, we think both Cleveland stations have thought about it, though.

A local TV station's identity, especially for affiliates of newer networks like FOX, WB, UPN, CW and MyNetworkTV, is tied very closely to its network.

And even in large markets, ABC/CBS/NBC affiliates often use their network's branding...particularly in top markets where the network owns the station. WJW/8 here has both...typical FOX branding, and it's owned by the network.

Thus, WUAB flipped "UPN 43" to "My 43" weeks ago on the air, even though the actual programming doesn't show up until tonight. (We do note that WUAB was a latecomer to the "UPN 43" name, once calling itself "43 The Block". We repeat what we said earlier. "The Block" of what?)

Over on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls, WBNX/55 has phased in its "WBNX/the CW" branding, which is nearly complete. CW premieres on Monday, September 18th, with new programming starting two days later.

By the way, for those looking for outgoing UPN mainstay "WWE Friday Night Smackdown" on WUAB, TV listings show it will air - at least this coming week - Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1 AM on Channel 43. The show moves to the CW on Friday, September 22nd in prime-time on WBNX.

Despite all this, there are some who believe that MyNetworkTV may have a better shot at ratings. After all, it wouldn't be the first time that trashy TV with no redeeming social value would attract viewers in America.

And though CW has mostly existing shows with a track record on WB or UPN, neither network has exactly rocketed out of the over-air TV basement, though executives hope a combination of the two could become a solid fifth network after "The Big Four".

It'll be fun to watch...

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

At 8:18 A.M. Armstrong here in Mahoning county flipped the switch for MY-YTV and I kind of which they didn't. A complete rebroadcast of daybreak 33 no differece execpt a graphic saying pre recorded. They did mention that comcast is carring MY-YTv on ch 3 and ?Time Warner is airing it on digital ch 533. And yes UAB did run UPN programming and at 10 P.M.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: why on Earth with the CW go to WBNX without any HD capabilities and, the last time I checked, no stereo broadcast as well? BLECH.

Anonymous said...

The CW (CBS + WB) had no choice since WUAB is just a half-ass WOIO reject station that stays on the air thanks to Trivtra, Kevin Tredeau, and the other paid programs that pay for the right to broadcast on ch 43. The CW is ASSUMING that WBNX will go HD and add stereo sound. If WOAC, or WQHS was on the table, maybe just maybe there would have been a choice but since that are not this is the best we can hope for

Anonymous said...

Durning the premiere of Fashion House Fox ran the oddest promo for Fox Faith http://www.foxfaith.com/ . Now it is not odd for a network to run a promo for a sister divison, but a promo for family and christian films during a program that is rated TV 14 with sex, violance and language? You have to be kidding me! Considering these programs are nothing more than a water down porno with a cheap set and reality show rejects it just shows you how bright Fox really is. BTW the promo featured an actor protraying Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it obvious to all why CW wouldn't want to be affiliated with a mess like WUAB? They've cared nothing for their viewership for years, based on hour after hour of infomercials. Those soaps Tues. night were an embarrassment. Thank heavens it's not "my" network.

Morgan Wick said...

Gee, remember when TV stations used to brand with their (gasp) CALL LETTERS?

Nowadays, even when they do, they're too "hip" to include the first letter everyone's so familiar with that WB+/CW+ stations make up fake ones for to avoid scaring viewers. (CBS-owned KTXA in Dallas, which is inheriting Fox-owned KDFI's independent status, for example, is becoming "TXA 21".)

It actually isn't about the identity. It's about News Corp. pulling the biggest con in history. Station owners are the most unimaginative little creeps imaginable. Are they independent? Great, they'll brand with something oh-so-creative as "TV (channel number)". They can't program prime time by themselves, oh nooooo. Heck, they can't program the REST of their schedule by themselves. There are more WUAB's in the world than you might think (see the entire portfolio of Ion Media Networks). What time isn't filled up with infomercials is loaded up with lame syndicated programming, mostly old shows that have already run on the networks. Heck, that's the case with major network affiliates as well. Most of those stations only even produce news because they feel obligated to (as I'm sure people in a certain big city on the shores of a certain big lake in the Midwest are well aware of with a certain CBS station, though VHF's are vulnerable to this too). What happened to the good old days where stations would produce great, unique local programming? Only ten years ago, all the CW and MyNet stations were independents and got along just fine. Now they and all the big network affiliates are part of big conglomerates that see them as cash registers and have erased that bit about serving the "public interest" with their own poop. Blech indeed.

Okay, rant over.

Anonymous said...

The first night ratings are in for MyNet: Against a wide array of repeats, "Desire" launched the new network with a whopping 1.1 (and only .5 in Cle), and "Fashion House" followed with a 1.3, declining big-time in the 2nd half-hour. Not a happy morning in Shaker Hts. & Lorain, I imagine. First night curiosity-seekers will soon forget the telenovas ever existed.

Anonymous said...

Why would CW go to WBNX without any HD capabilities? Because, as it's already been reported earlier on OMW, WBNX was already buying the most advanced digital equipment that exists, which are now being installed. The CW execs aren't stupid. Give their engineers time to do a proper install so we won't see some of the same digital mess-ups that we've been used to seeing. Although, I'm sure with this new technology, it's probably not the easiest thing for any engineer to get all the bugs out right away. Hopefully, TimeWarner will carry the WBNX/CW digital signal soon!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of cable offering digital signals from the locals, what's up with Dish Network. I just heard from them last week and Cleveland is still on their to-do list for local digital offerings. They had 50 cities on the list and many are already offering local digital. Isn't Cleveland in the top 20 markets? Get with it satellite companies before we all switch to cable!

Ohio Media Watch said...

Though we haven't heard anything officially, as far as we know WBNX's engineers are working feverishly to go digital/HD as soon as possible.

This corner wouldn't be surprised if there was some form of WBNX in HD available even as soon as the CW's launch, either via cable or OTA. (That's just a hunch, as we have no even rumored word it's happening.)

Remember, the holdup with WBNX and digital TV was not their own, it was a long-standing dispute with the FCC and their protection of a Canadian station. WBNX has been listing HD shows on its website long before it received the approval to build WBNX-DT.

I am not an engineer, but it appears WBNX insisted on a full-power signal at start. Look at other operators, like Chelsey's WYTV, for example...which puts out a licensed digital signal that barely covers Youngstown/Warren.

If WBNX is not up in HD in some form on September 18th or thereabouts, we'd be shocked if it took longer than October. Again, just our hunch.

-OMW

J/R Rogers said...

In Erie, Pennsylvania, we only have a WB affiliate that is cable only with the fictional call letters WBEP and for the most part is on ch 22 for most of TWC. The station is run by WICU TV 12 and they are believed to become a CW affiliate due to the "bug" in the bottom corner of the screen aside from their promotions. They don't say a word about anything and the station, indeed, needs a lot of help. How abou this station without over the air HD broadcasting? I believe the WB is going to be better than the shows on the CW and previously on UPN.

Anonymous said...

All in all, Armstrong is the worse cable ever!