Monday, February 9, 2009

myNetworkTV Shifts Towards Reruns

MyNetworkTV, the lowest rated of the American networks, announced that it would largely show established programmes rather than original TV shows. Put more simply, it will primarily show reruns. MyNetworkTV also plans to have a movie night and to give Saturday night back to its affiliates. Despite this, myNetworkTV President Greg Meidel insists it is not becoming a rerun network.

For those of you who have never even heard of myNetworkTV (which is quite likely), it was a network which arose after The WB and UPN announced their intent to merge to form The CW. Fox had acquired various UPN affiliates in the early Naughts, including WPWR-TV in Chicago and KCOP in Los Angeles. Their agreement to UPN affiliation expiring in 2006 resulted in the fact that none of the Fox owned affiliates would become part of the CW. It was then less than month after UPN and The WB announced their intent to merge that Fox's parent company, New Corp, announced the creation of myNetworkTV from UPN stations and WB stations left out of The CW.

MyNetworkTV started broadcasting on September 5, 2006. Originally the network aired telenovelas made in the English language. The telenovelas aired five nights a week through a thirteen week cycle. Despite covering 96 percent of the country, myNetworkTv found its ratings at the bottom of the barrel. By March 2007 they abandoned the telenovelas for a format meant to attract young males. Its programming shifted largely to reality shows and sports programming. By 2008, still the lowest ranked network, MyNetworkTV tried a more mixed approach to programming. They aired yet another version of The Twilight Zone, the sketch comedy show The Tony Rock Project, the sitcom Under One Roof, and WWE Friday Night SmackDown. Even then, much of its programming consisted of reruns.

So far myNetworkTV has agreed to only two series, WWE Friday Night SmackDown and two hours worth of reruns of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. There has not been any word as to what will happen to its original series.

I must confess that I find it hard to believe that myNetworkTV has survived this long. The network began with the risky move of airing American telenovelas as its primary programming, a format which never caught on with English speaking audiences. They later shifted to reality programming at a time when the reality show cycle had run its course and the networks had already been glutted with them. Their attempts at original programming, even the new version of The Twilight Zone, have never caught on. In fact, it seems to me that the only programming on myNetworkTV that has any kind of viewership are the occasional movie and WWE Friday Night SmackDown. I must confess that save for a few specials and movies, I have never watched much of anything on myNetworkTV. As harsh as it sounds, it sounds almost as if myNetworkTV should simply cash in its chips and allow its affiliates to become independent stations. After nearly three years, it seems to me that myNetworkTV simply cannot find its niche among the American broadcast networks.

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