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News Corp. to Launch Mini-Network


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News Corp. to Launch Mini-Network

Wednesday February 22 2:31 PM ET


News Corp. announced Wednesday it would launch a new mini-network called My Network TV that will supply prime-time shows for the 10 local TV stations the company owns that were left without programming after UPN announced that it would close.

The new lineup will be centered around two serial dramas that will air six days a week with 13-week story lines, similar to the soap opera-esque "telenovela" format that has been a big success on Spanish-language networks like Univision.

The two shows, called "Desire" and "Secrets," will be one hour each, airing Monday through Saturday. Other daily, serialized shows are also in the works, including a quiz show, a reality show called "Celebrity Love Island" and a supermodel search show.

Putting daily, serialized dramas on the air in prime time is highly unusual. Fox executives said the two new shows had been in the works for several months, before the announcement about UPN shutting down was made.

The new lineup will launch on Sept. 5 on stations in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas with initial coverage of 24 percent of the United States, News Corp. said. Executives said they hoped to sign up other affiliates as well.

The 10 stations that will initially carry the new shows are owned by News Corp.'s Fox television station group, which has a total of 35 stations in 26 cities, many of which are affiliated with News Corp.'s main broadcast network, Fox. News Corp., whose media assets span the globe, is controlled by the Australian-born media baron Rupert Murdoch.

The 10 stations were left without access to prime-time programming when UPN, a struggling network owned by CBS Corp., announced last month that it would close down.

CBS is using shows from UPN to launch another new broadcast network together with Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., which decided to shut down its own network The WB. Both UPN and WB had struggled for years.

Roger Ailes, the head of Fox's television station group, will be in charge of the new My Network TV operation. Ailes, known as a doggedly determined programming executive, built Fox News Channel into a powerhouse, leapfrogging CNN in the all-news category.

News Corp. has had other experience going up against incumbent networks in the past, taking on CBS, Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and General Electric Co.'s NBC with its Fox network.

"In life, I've learned that losing is highly overrated as a learning experience," Ailes told a group of reporters at a news conference in New York.

Jack Abernethy, the head of the Fox Television Station Group, said he expected the new network to be profitable right away.

The new Fox-owned mini-network will be going up against The CW, the joint venture network being formed by CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. out of the assets of UPN and WB. That network will launch initially on 16 stations owned by Tribune Co., which had been a minority owner of WB, as well as 11 former UPN stations.

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  • 2 weeks later...


17 Sinclair Stations Join Fox Mini-Network

Thursday March 2 5:35 PM ET

Seventeen TV stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. will carry programming from a new mini-network being launched by News Corp.'s Fox television unit this fall, the companies announced Thursday.

Adding to the 10 Fox-owned stations already lined up to carry the shows from MyNetworkTV, the new mini-network will now be available in 36 percent of American homes when it launches Sept. 5.

News Corp. came up with the plan after 10 of its stations were left without prime-time programming following the announcement from CBS Corp. that it would shut down its money-losing UPN network.

MyNetworkTV will start out carrying just two shows, soap-opera style dramas modeled after the hugely successful and steamy "telenovelas" that appear on Spanish-language television. The shows will air Monday through Saturday from 8pm to 10pm.

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Courtesy of: MEDIAWEEK

MyNetworkTV Signs 5 Affils

Katy Bachman

MARCH 07, 2006 -

MyNetworkTV, Fox's new alternative prime-time network set to launch Sept. 5, announced Tuesday it had signed five new affiliation agreements with stations in Cleveland (market No. 16), Charlotte (No. 27), Honolulu (72), Baton Rouge (96) and Palm Springs (153), bringing the network's total coverage to 40 percent of the country.

Three of the five new MyNetworkTV affiliates are owned by Raycom Media: Cleveland's WUAB, a UPN affiliate; Honolulu's WB affiliate KFVE; and WBXH, the UPN affiliate in Baton Rouge. In addition, affiliate agreements have been signed for WWWB, the WB affiliate owned by Capitol Broadcasting, and KPSE, the UPN affiliate in Palm Springs owned by Mirage Media.

Offering stations a marked alternative to the CW's more traditional approach, MyNetworkTV provides 12 hours of prime-time programming, more local inventory and no reverse compensation.

"I love the concept of MyNetworkTV's business and programming model and am betting on the unparalleled track record behind the MyNetworkTV leadership and News Corp.," said Paul McTear, CEO of Raycom. "This network's station-friendly strategic plan presents a great long-term option for broadcasters, and we couldn't be happier to be affiliates with it in Cleveland, Baton Rouge and Honolulu."

So far, along with the Fox Television Stations in 10 top markets, MyNetworkTV last week signed an affiliation agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group for 17 of its stations.

"Bob Cook and the Twentieth team are currently in negotiations with many other station groups, and we are confident that we'll have more than 90 percent of the country cleared by launch," vowed Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations.

CW is also working to sign affiliates for a September launch date and has currently made deals to clear nearly 54 percent of the U.S.

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It seems that the whole UPN and WB merge, plus the new Fox mini network will be pretty much transparent to the viewer. UPN and WB = CW which will probably replace the slot that the WB used to have and the new My Network station will replace UPN's slot. They will probably all play similar types of programs...with the exception of those 2 new soap operas, Desire and Secrets. Sounds like 2 V C Andrews books.

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HARVESTING CORNROWS: My Network (you know, the network made up of all the WB and UPN affiliates left out in the cold by those networks' merger) has found its "face"... you know, its Jennifer Love Hewitt, its Lauren Graham, its Teri Hatcher

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