Still beating a dead horse, MyNet continues spinning being an all-repeat destin

TV Arts

WHY do the collected stations continue to humiliate themselves by
branding each station with the "MyNetwork" non-brand? (Cleveland's
WUAB-TV43 is "My43, WUAB".)


MyNet Affiliates See Shift to Programming Service as Attractive to

Third Lineup Change Since Launch Aims to Cut Costs, Draw Viewers

By Andrew Krukowski

The optimism with which some MyNetworkTV affiliates are greeting the
network’s transformation to a programming service is partly
attributable to a slate of shows that they think will be easier to
sell to sponsors. MyNet stations, though, are withholding their final
blessing until they see the rest of the lineup.

News Corp.-owned MyNet last week announced it is getting out of the
broadcast programming business starting next season, partly to reduce
costs. Instead, the 3-year-old network is replacing its current lineup
with syndicated fare. A two-hour block of NBC Universal Distribution’s
“Law and Order: Criminal Intent” already is scheduled.

“WWE Friday Night Smackdown” is returning next season to the schedule,
while a movie night is slotted for Thursday. Two more nights’ lineups
have yet to be announced, while Saturdays are being returned to the
affiliates for programming.

This is the third programming change since MyNet launched in fall 2006
with a slate of telenovelas.

For MyNet, the change lowers costs by eschewing original shows. MyNet
affiliates get programming that already has penetrated the popular
consciousness, which may help them build their brands locally.
Syndicators are looking at the so-far empty slots on the MyNetwork
schedule as an opportunity to bolster sales.

What remains to be seen is how much appetite national advertisers have
for spots in reruns in primetime. Also, if the gambit fails to draw
more viewers at a lower cost, MyNet stations may be faced with a
fourth change in programming in as many years.

Currently, MyNet is in the process of re-signing stations to
affiliation agreements, which were set to expire at the end of this
season, the network said.

Changing to crime dramas from MyNet’s edgy shows like “Jail” and
“Street Patrol” may make things easier on station sales reps.

“There’s some advertisers who don’t want to be on programs that are a
little too gritty,” said Bill Applegate, general manager of Raycom-
owned WUAB-TV in Cleveland.

Some MyNet shows were on advertisers’ “hit lists,” he said.

“Replacing those with ‘Law and Order,’ for example, is a positive for
us, from a revenue standpoint,” he said.

With “Law and Order” confirmed, affiliates are waiting to see what
other programming MyNet adds to the schedule on two other nights each

One station manager, who asked not to be named due to corporate
restrictions, said affiliates are giving MyNet the benefit of the
doubt so far, in the hope that the programming on the two currently
unscheduled nights will be just as affiliate-friendly as “Law and

He said a show like Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s
“The Closer” would be incredibly beneficial to the MyNet affiliates.

Distributors view MyNet’s new strategy as an opportunity to expand
programming sales. One distribution executive said he was approached
by MyNet on Wednesday about specific programming options and is
looking into a deal. The executive said MyNet’s allure for
distributors is it allows show launches to occur on a national scale,
rather than the piecemeal sales across the country that syndicators
face when trying to clear markets in daytime.

However, one major question about the proposed change is what keeps
affiliates invested in MyNetworkTV now that the network lacks, for the
most part, original programming.

!!! (((((( Stations themselves could purchase syndicated content for
primetime, cutting out MyNet as a middleman altogether. MyNet
executives say they’re not worried about that. )))))) !!!

A lineup of hands-off, turnkey format primetime programming is
beneficial to affiliates who don’t want to get bogged down in the time-
consuming ordeal of dealmaking, said Frank Ciccha, senior VP of
programming, Fox Television Stations.

“Anybody who doesn’t do that is going to have to piece together how
many deals to fill up their primetime?” he said. “If I were wearing my
MyNet hat, I’d say, ‘I defy anyone to go out and get anything better
than what we are going to provide.’”

Also, MyNet stations benefit from having a continuing national
identity, said MyNet Executive Vice President Paul Franklin. Without
that MyNet branding, each would be left to forge its own brand.
“We’re in a position to acquire the better product to go on the air,”
Mr. Franklin said.

While MyNet still is in the process of closing deals for the weekdays,
the opening on Saturday night in many markets is giving distributors
new angles to sell shows.

Some affiliates, like Mr. Applegate’s WUAB-TV, may fall back on pre-
existing relationships with sporting franchises to broadcast games on

But distributors like Litton Entertainment are looking at Saturday as
an opportunity to sell to the MyNet affiliates. Litton is distributing
talk show “The Brian McKnight Show” for next season.

“We were already a firm go, but [the] announcement that MyNetwork is
returning Saturday night time periods to their affiliates has opened
up whole new conversations for us,” said Tom Warner, executive VP of
Litton Entertainment.
I believe that's a requirement of the affiliation contracts that News
Corp. signs with the stations.

Everett W.