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This is The WB in Los Angeles signing off.

Sunday, 17 September, 2006

Tonight, television offers something truly rare. The planned closure of a broadcast television network with fanfare closure and retrospective. While UPN technically closed down after Friday evening’s offerings, the technical side of UPN and the front office will persist under a new identity which has picked up a number of The WB’s more successful programs.

Of the four “netlets” The WB was the only one to self-identify as a television network. This was because unlike Pax/I, UPN or Fox they offered a limited news service connected to their corporate relationship with CNN. Very few stations picked up the CNN coverage, except overnight and in the event of the one national emergency in the era of the littlest network. Fox, UPN and its replacement “The CW” sometimes CWTV are program services. Whether CW will provide news through either of its parents is not entirely clear at this time.

In another era, the two struggling networks ABC and Du Mont [sic] discussed merger for two years, but were dissuaded by Du Mont’s parent company Paramount Pictures. Paramount had a few flirtations with starting a “fourth network” after the demise of Du Mont, among them United-Paramount which would have started in 1967 and Paramount Television Service which would have commenced in 1978. Somehow the pieces fell into place in 1995. Notably UPN’s first night on air was its most viewed ever, and it had struggled along ever since. Now they have merged with the “Fifth” Network and shall persist, while the other service officially closes down … ironically the sentimental close down is on the first night of The CW, which is expected to occur with little fanfare. Most affiliates will be carrying CWTV’s programming.

The management of Du Mont television was hopeful something would happen so they might attract more affiliates as of August 6, 1956. Their programming was gone. They had burned a number of bridges with Broadway and Hollywood. All that remained, after the selling of their television assembly facility to Westinghouse, was the physical network and their five owned-and-operated stations.

The five O-and-O’s were sold as a unit and eventually became Metropolitan Broadcasting. Du Mont went out of business. Metropolitan Broadcasting eventually became a producer of programs and had a sizable syndication arm. With the liberalization in the laws regarding broadcast holdings, the renamed Metromedia attracted the attention of the Australian News Corporation which had begun a process of acquiring media properties throughout the English-speaking world. They had a big piece of Twentieth Century-Fox around this time.

In Fall 1986, Metromedia became Fox Television and started their own prime-time program distribution service. If you eventually replace and retain every piece of a Volkswagen, then reassemble the old pieces, which is the real VW? and Is Fox the Du Mont network?


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