In this week’s issue… CW moves from 2 PA TVs – Morning show change in ME – WOR’s Bartlett stepping down – Remembering CT’s Floyd Wright – NY AM donated
By SCOTT FYBUSH
Jump to: ME – NH – VT – MA – RI – CT – NY – NJ – PA – Canada
Did you have “affiliation change” on your TV scorecard for 2023? We didn’t – but there’s one on the way for the CW affiliates that CBS owns in PENNSYLVANIA‘s two biggest markets, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
On Friday, CBS’ parent company Paramount told employees in those markets and six others around the country that later this year, it will drop its CW affiliations, ending a connection that stretches back to 1996, when Paramount (then part of Viacom) bought half of the then-new UPN network from Chris-Craft. Viacom/Paramount eventually ended up owning all of UPN before merging that network with the WB Network in 2006, at which point Paramount kept the new CW Network affiliation in some of its markets while handing it off to existing WB outlets in others.
In recent years, Paramount and Warner Brothers have pulled back from their CW partnership, selling 75% of the network to Nexstar, which has taken the CW in a very different direction. Instead of the heavy dose of scripted series that the CW programmed for years (we’ll miss you, “The Flash”!), Nexstar is reformatting the CW to rely more on lower-budgeted shows and sports. And while WNBA games aren’t very controversial, CBS has had an issue with the CW’s LIV Golf broadcasts, which it hasn’t been carrying on the CW stations it owns.
So what happens next for Philadelphia’s WPSG (Channel 57), Pittsburgh’s WPCW (Channel 19) and their sister stations in Detroit, San Francisco and elsewhere? CBS says those stations will turn into independents this fall (like its WLNY in New York and WSBK in Boston), with an eye toward picking up more local sports. It’s the right time for that, since several operators of regional cable sports networks are faltering. That’s not a factor in Philadelphia, where Comcast holds local rights in close to perpetuity, but in Pittsburgh it could be a lifesaver for the Pirates and Penguins, who are trying to figure out what happens after Warner Brothers Discovery pulls the plug on its AT&T Sportsnet channels.
As for the CW in those markets, Nexstar says it’s confident it will find new affiliates quickly. In Philadelphia, where Nexstar owns WPHL (Channel 17), it’s pretty much a given that the CW will replace whatever’s left of MyNetwork there (and that Fox-owned MyNetwork will end up on a subchannel of Fox-owned WTXF). In Pittsburgh, the options are more limited, with Sinclair’s WPTT (Channel 22), currently a MyNetwork affiliate, probably the likeliest new CW outlet.
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If you have already ordered your calendar, make sure you check out the other items in the store, too!