The Hollywood Reporter and several other news sources are reporting that “The WB Network and UPN will merge in the hope of making the two smaller broadcast networks into a bigger power, according to sources familiar with the situation.”
Dawn Ostroff, UPN president, will oversee the combined venture, which will be known as The CW Network according to Reuters and AP reports. It will launch in the fall with 30 hours of programming, seven days per week, according to AP. Operations and programming will merge, the network will be a 50-50 venture between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Tribune Broadcasting is expected to be the primary station group, with CBS Corp.’s existing affiliation deals with WWOR New York and KCOP Los Angeles (both owned by News Corp.) expiring in September.
Last week at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour, Ostroff said — regarding “Friday Night SmackDown!” — that the network fully expected to have wrestling on its schedule come next fall. Currently UPN and The WB do not program Saturday prime-time, and UPN does not program Sunday nights. We’ll have more on this as it develops.