THE GREAT REACH RACE

DUELING NETWORKS EXPAND STATION LINEUPS

Deals boost The CW's coverage to 54%; MyNetworkTV, to 40%.

Broadcast TV’s newest networks-to-be both added to their affiliation rosters yesterday.

CBS and Time Warner’s The CW and Fox’s MyNetworkTV are in a race to sign up affiliates, hoping to reach at least 90% of the country by September.

Fox created MyNetworkTV after learning that nine of its stations will lose their UPN affiliations this fall because of the merger of UPN and The WB. The owners of the two networks, CBS and Time Warner, respectively, are merging them into The CW.

First, The CW announced five deals that it said would boost the netlet’s coverage to 54% of the country, with affiliates in 18 of the top 20 markets and 20 of the top 25. The lastest signings: Hearst-Argyle’s KCWE, the UPN affiliate in Kansas City, Mo.; cable-only WRWB Rochester, N.Y., owned by WB/Time Warner Cable; Meredith’s WB affiliate WFLI Chattanooga, Tenn.; Vindicator’s WB affiliate WBCB Youngstown, Ohio; and digital station KVIA El Paso, Texas, owned by News-Press & Gazette-owned ABC affiliate KVIA there.

“As we build The CW’s affiliate lineup station by station and market by market, it’s an exciting opportunity to partner with a variety of companies, all of whom share our enthusiasm and optimism,” said John Maatta, chief operating officer of The CW.

Not to be outdone, a little later Tuesday, Fox’s MyNetworkTV announced it landed five more affiliates: Raycom Media’s WUAB Cleveland, KFVE Honolulu and WBXH Baton Rouge, La..; Capitol Broadcasting’s WWWB Charlotte, N.C., and Mirage Media’s KPSE Palm Springs.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

With the five additional affiliates, the new network is now cleared in 40% of the U.S. Aimed at the 18-49 demo, the network is scheduled to launch Sept. 5.

Of the five stations, only three are full-power stations. WBXH Baton Rouge is a Class A station; KPSE, a low-power station.

“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 Raycom CEO Paul McTear. “This network’s station-friendly strategic plan presents a great long-term option for broadcasters and we couldn’t be happier to be affiliated with it in Cleveland, Baton Rouge and Honolulu.”

MyNetworkTV has also been cleared on 10 stations owned and operated by Fox and 17 stations of the Sinclair Broadcast Group.


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