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|Type||Television Network (September 5, 2006–September 28, 2009 )|
(since September 28, 2009 )
|Owner||Fox Entertainment Group|
(21st Century Fox)
(Chairman, Fox Television Stations Group)
(Chief Operating Officer)
|September 5, 2006|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2012)|
|Type||Television Network (September 5, 2006–September 28, 2009 )|
(since September 28, 2009 )
|Owner||Fox Entertainment Group|
(21st Century Fox)
(Chairman, Fox Television Stations Group)
(Chief Operating Officer)
|September 5, 2006|
MyNetworkTV (unofficially abbreviated as MyTV, MyNet, MNT or MNTV, and sometimes referred to as "My Network") is an American television network/broadcast syndication service that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group division of 21st Century Fox. MyNetworkTV began operations on September 5, 2006 with an initial affiliate lineup covering about 96% of the country, most of which were former affiliates of The WB and UPN that did not join those two networks' successor, The CW.
On September 28, 2009, following disappointment with the network's results, MyNetworkTV dropped its status as a television network and transitioned into a programming service, similar to Ion Television.
MyNetworkTV arose from the January 2006 launch announcement of The CW Television Network, which essentially merged The WB and UPN. As a result of several deals earlier in the decade, Fox Television Stations owned several UPN affiliates, including the network's three largest stations: WWOR-TV/New York City, KCOP-TV/Los Angeles and WPWR-TV/Chicago. Fox had bought WWOR and KCOP after acquiring most of the television holdings of UPN founding partner Chris-Craft Industries, while WPWR was bought in 2003 from Newsweb Corporation. Despite concerns about UPN's future at the time that Fox purchased these three stations, UPN signed three-year affiliation renewals with the network's Fox-owned affiliates in 2003. That agreement's pending expiration, along with some others, in 2006 gave UPN parent CBS Corporation and The WB's parent company Time Warner the rare opportunity to merge their respective struggling networks into The CW.
The CW's initial affiliation agreements did not include any Fox-owned stations. In fact, as part of a ten-year affiliation deal with The WB's co-owner, Tribune Broadcasting, the coveted New York, Los Angeles and Chicago affiliations all went to Tribune-owned stations (WPIX, KTLA and WGN-TV, respectively). In response to the announcement, Fox promptly removed all network references from its UPN affiliates' logos and promotions, and had stopped promoting UPN's programs altogether. However, in all three cases (especially in the cases of Los Angeles and Chicago), the WB affiliate was the stronger station; CW executives were on record as preferring the "strongest" WB and UPN affiliates.
Media reports speculated that the Fox-owned UPN affiliates would all revert to being independent stations, or else form another network by uniting with other affiliates of UPN and The WB that were left out of The CW's affiliation deals. Fox chose the latter route, and announced the launch of MyNetworkTV on February 22, less than a month after CBS and Warner Bros. announced The CW on January 24.
MyNetworkTV began operations on September 5, 2006 with premieres of its two initial series. Some affiliates unofficially began branding their stations on September 4, 2006 – Labor Day – with supplied preview specials. Initially, programming aired Monday through Saturdays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT). As of April 2013, MyNetworkTV broadcasts 10 hours each week of primetime programming on Monday through Friday evenings from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT; MyNetworkTV is one of only two broadcast networks that do not currently run any primetime programs on weekends (The CW initially ran programming on Sunday nights from 2006 to 2009, when it turned over the five-hour block of programs that aired on Sunday late afternoons and evenings to its affiliates).
Depending on the market, many current and former affiliate stations have presented MyNetworkTV programs out of pattern – either to run syndicated programs or local newscasts, or because of an existing affiliation with another network:
Heavy local sports preemptions are a problem for MyNetworkTV, as they have been for all the networks that have debuted since the January 1995 launch of The WB and UPN. However, they have become less of an issue with the end of the network's telenovela strategy, where an airing of the pre-empted telenovela episode as soon as possible on the same day was required by default rather than the flexibility to push a show off to the weekend that came with an affiliation with UPN, The WB or The CW. Affiliates often scheduled contractual "make goods" of its daily line between 3 and 6 a.m. Not only are these light viewing hours, but they air after Nielsen processes its preliminary morning network ratings.
The network's original format focused on the 18-to-49-year-old, English-speaking population with programing consisting exclusively of telenovelas, starting with Desire and Fashion House. Originally, each aired Monday to Friday in continuous cycles of 13-week seasons, with a one-hour recap of the week's shows airing on Saturdays; when one series ended, another unrelated series would begin the following week. The fifth and sixth series, American Heiress and Saints and Sinners, appeared one hour per week on Wednesdays before abruptly vanishing from the schedule. The MyNetworkTV serial lineup was broadcast in Australia as FOXTELENOVELA on the W. Channel. In Canada, the first Desire/Fashion House cycle aired weekday afternoons on Toronto station CKXT-DT, but the station decided not to air subsequent cycles for unknown reasons.
The announcement of the network also stated that additional unscripted reality-based and current-affairs programming were in development. These included:
MyNetworkTV abandoned development of these programs in Summer 2006 and focused solely on telenovelas.
Later announcements by Fox regarding additional programming to air on MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated stations – such as Desperate Housewives repeats in traditional weekend syndication, a trial run of the sitcom Tyler Perry's House of Payne (which later moved to TBS), and the daytime viewer-participation game show My GamesFever – never applied to the network as a whole.
MyNetworkTV does not air children's programming, or any news or sports programming supplied by the service. San Francisco affiliate KRON-TV (which has maintained a news department since it launched as an NBC affiliate in 1949) is the only station aligned with MyNetworkTV that produces its own local news programming, giving MyNetworkTV the fewest news-producing stations of the six major broadcast networks (The CW has nine news-producing stations within its portfolio).
Many other affiliates carry local newscasts produced through a news share agreement with a major network affiliate (most often, newscasts produced by stations that are owned or managed alongside the local MyNetworkTV-affiliated station), and may serve as broadcasters for local sports teams.
In response to the telenovela lineup's poor ratings performance, highlighted by a rating of 0.7% average households, reports surfaced that Fox executives were planning a major revamp of MyNetworkTV's programming, decreasing its reliance on telenovelas and adding new unscripted programs to the schedule such as reality shows, game shows (such as My GamesFever), movies and sports, and a possible revisit to a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. However, MyNetworkTV instead signed a deal with another mixed martial arts organization, the International Fight League, in conjunction with Fox Sports Net.
On February 1, 2007, Greg Meidel, who was named to the newly created position of network president just 10 days earlier, confirmed the rumors and unveiled a dramatically revamped lineup. The intent of the shakeup was to increase viewer awareness of the network (and in turn viewership), as well as to satisfy local affiliates who were disappointed over the poor ratings performance. After March 7 (when Wicked Wicked Games and Watch Over Me finished their runs), telenovelas occupied only two nights of programming, airing in two-hour movie-style blocks rather than on multiple nights. The remainder of the schedule included theatrical movies and the new IFL Battleground (originally titled Total Impact). In addition, the Saturday night telenovela recaps ended immediately, with movies running on that night until March. The 1986 film Something Wild aired on February 3, becoming the network's first non-telenovela presentation.
Specials and reality programming were also a part of the network's reformatting, with the first two specials airing on March 7. MyNetworkTV also reduced its telenovela programming to a single night each week, with American Heiress and Saints & Sinners airing one hour each on Wednesdays until their unexpected termination, due to incompatible flow with IFC Battleground from Monday to Tuesday as far as promotions. The new Thursday night movie block featured mostly action/adventure films, with Friday night featuring a mix of contemporary classic films, beginning June 5.
A side effect of the new programming schedule was the loss of the network's claim that it was the only U.S. broadcast network to have its entire programming schedule available in high definition, due to the IFL, some of the network's movies and additional programs being produced exclusively in 480i standard definition. In the fall of 2007, MyNetworkTV dropped telenovelas altogether, and began to air reality series and sports programs.
On September 1, 2007, the network aired its first live program, the men's final of the AVP Croc Tour's Cincinnati Open. Under One Roof, the network's first sitcom starring Flavor Flav, began airing on April 16, 2008; because the program used Canadian writers, it was unaffected by the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike.
On February 26, 2008, the network announced it had picked up the rights to air WWE SmackDown, which left The CW at the end of September 2008. The first Smackdown! episode on MyNetworkTV aired on October 3, 2008. The first episode of WWE SmackDown pulled in the largest audience in MyNetworkTV history with 3.2 million viewers, and for the first time, rated fifth for the night ahead of The CW and won the night in the male 18-34 and 18-49 demographics.
MyNetworkTV's debut was far from successful. Desire scored a 1.1 household rating/2 share; Fashion House went up to 1.3/2. Fox had sold about half of its projections of $50 million in advance commercial sales. On March 7, 2007, MyNetworkTV began to be included in Nielsen's daily "Television Index" reports, alongside the other networks, although it was still not part of the "fast nationals" that incorporate the other networks. Last-minute changes to the Fall 2007 MyNetworkTV schedules included the retitling of the reality series Divorce Wars to Decision House, and the addition of Celebrity Exposé and Control Room Presents to the network's Monday lineup as well as a one-hour IFL Battleground, followed by NFL Total Access on Saturdays.
The network's shift from telenovelas, to reality shows and movies produced only a small bump in the ratings. It averaged only a .7 household rating during September 2007. MyNetworkTV continues to be the second lowest-rated English-language broadcast network in the United States, ahead of only Ion Television. The night MyNetworkTV debuted WWE SmackDown, the network took fifth place in household ratings ahead of The CW, but went back to sixth place shortly afterwards. Of the six broadcast networks, Nielsen Media Research said only MyNetworkTV went up in the ratings, with 1.76 million viewers per night, up 750,000 from the previous season.
On January 5, 2009, MyNetworkTV aired episodes of The Twilight Zone. The series helped MyNetworkTV rise in the ratings along with WWE SmackDown, being the second highest-rated show on the network. The highest-rated program to have ever aired on MyNetworkTV is a December 10, 2008 broadcast of Home Alone, which brought in 3.70 million viewers (not a record) but had a 1.4 rating among the 18-49 year old demographic.
On February 9, 2009, it was announced that MyNetworkTV would convert from a television network to a programming service, similar to that of Ion Television (with the exception of occasional first-run series such as Flashpoint). Litton Entertainment had expressed interest in MyNetworkTV's Saturday evening time slots. MyNetworkTV began airing more syndicated programming in the fall, which included game shows and dramas, five nights a week.
In 2010, the WWE announced that WWE SmackDown would move to the Syfy cable channel that October; the move left MyNetworkTV with no first-run programming other than that it shared with its syndicators. Despite the lack of first-run programming, MyNetworkTV renewed its affiliation contracts for three more years in February 2011. The programming service has seen significant viewership growth in viewership since its 2006 startup as a television network. Although ratings on MyNetworkTV do not match those of the other broadcast networks, Nexstar Broadcasting Group CEO Perry Sook said, "I get more inventory per hour than I would get from Fox or ABC."
In announcing its fall schedule for the 2012-13 schedule, MyNetworkTV executives revealed the programming service increased ratings over last year and it rates as the #6 most-watched network in the 2011-2012 season with around 2.5 million viewers.
To date, 172 stations are affiliated with the network, reaching approximately 106 million households and covering 96% of the US. This number includes six stations owned at the time by companies involved in the founding of the competing CW network: three owned by Tribune Broadcasting (located in Atlanta, Georgia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington), and three owned by CBS Corporation; however, Gannett Company purchased Atlanta's WATL from Tribune shortly after Fox confirmed it as a MyNetworkTV affiliate (Gannett's acquisition of WATL was finalized on August 7, 2006). The Tribune Company sold its stake in The WB in exchange for long-term affiliation contracts with The CW and does not maintain an ownership stake in The CW (Time Warner and CBS jointly own the network).
On March 6, 2006, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced an affiliation deal with MyNetworkTV for 17 of its stations (consisting mostly of WB affiliates, but also a few stations affiliated with UPN and independent stations). This occurred despite the widespread presumption that affiliations with The CW, which at that point was in the process of signing affiliates in most markets, would be more valuable; however, Sinclair implied that MyNetworkTV was more financially attractive for the company (of the Sinclair stations that initially affiliated with MyNetworkTV, San Antonio's KMYS has since disaffiliated from the service and switched to The CW on August 30, 2010, making its swap with Fredericksburg-based CW affiliate KCWX the first and so far only known affiliation switch between same-market affiliates of the two netlets since their formation in 2006). One day later on March 7, Raycom Media announced that its WB and UPN affiliates (including WUAB/Cleveland, Ohio, KFVE/Honolulu, Hawaii and WBXH-CA/Baton Rouge, Louisiana) would join MyNetworkTV that September.
One of the stations named in an April 26, 2006 announcement of MyNetworkTV affiliates was KNVA/Austin, Texas, which The CW had added to its list of confirmed affiliates a week previously. On May 1, 2006, another previously-confirmed CW affiliate, KWKB/Iowa City, Iowa, signed on to carry MyNetworkTV. Until October 2009, these two stations were the only ones to be aligned with both new networks (KNVA has since become a sole CW affiliate as parent station KXAN-TV converted its semi-satellite KBVO into a standalone MyNetworkTV affiliate); KNVA branded MyNetworkTV shows as "MyNetworkTV on The CW Austin", while KWKB's website features station logos labeled as both "KWKB The CW" and "My KWKB". In May, WAWB/Huntsville, Alabama became an official MyNetworkTV affiliate, changing its call letters to WAMY.
On July 12, 2006, the network added seven stations (including WBFS-TV/Miami, KTVD/Denver, WUPL/New Orleans and WAWS/Jacksonville, Florida. WSYX and WAWS, along with WHP-TV/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania carry MyNetworkTV on their digital subchannels. The deal with CBS to affiliate its stations that were left out of The CW's affiliation deals with MyNetworkTV came as a surprise in the broadcasting industry, especially after the icy reception between CBS and News Corporation that began after both it and The CW came into the picture, as they refused to allow WBFS, WUPL and Boston's WSBK-TV to affiliate with MyNetworkTV as a response to pulling UPN branding from that network's Fox-owned stations.
In August 2006, MyNetworkTV filled in its remaining gaps within the top 100 television markets. On August 11, the network announced affiliations with WNAC/Providence, Rhode Island (as a secondary affiliate) and WNGT-LP/Toledo, Ohio. Additionally, on August 22, the network added KAUT/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and a digital subchannel of WRGT/Dayton, Ohio to the affiliate list on its website. Also that month, WZMY/Derry, New Hampshire was announced as the Boston-market affiliate. WBIN's (the former WZMY's) affiliation with MyNetworkTV ran out in September 2011, and WSBK (which had shunned MyNetworkTV at its formation in 2006) took over the Boston-market MyNetworkTV affiliation at that time; KAUT became an independent station in September 2012, with MyNetworkTV moving to former independent KSBI.
From MyNetworkTV's inception until July 2010, Mobile, Alabama was the largest city without a MyNetworkTV affiliate, although Fort Walton Beach, Florida station WFGX serves as the area's affiliate for the Mobile-Pensacola-Fort Walton Beach television market; this was due to WFGX's weak analog signal, which was not available west of Pensacola, and the lack of a must-carry agreement with Mobile's Comcast system, most likely a remnant of the station's former status as a low-rated Jewelry Television affiliate prior to MyNetworkTV's launch), however, WFGX has relocated its digital transmitter to Robertsdale, Alabama (where other stations in the Mobile-Pensacola area maintain transmitters), providing an over-the-air MyNetworkTV affiliate in the Mobile area proper for the first time.
On September 28, 2009, three stations owned by Ion Media Networks that cleared MyNetworkTV (WPXX-TV/Memphis, Tennessee and WEPX-TV – along with its satellite station WPXU-TV – in the Greenville-New Bern-Washington, North Carolina market), due to an affiliation agreement made by their previous owners, dropped their affiliations and became full-time Ion Television owned-and-operated stations as they had been prior to September 2006 (in Greenville-New Bern, a digital subchannel of NBC affiliate WITN-TV took over the affiliation full-time).
Memphis CW affiliate WLMT – which picked up MyNetworkTV for the sole purpose of carrying SmackDown, and due to the network's reclassification as a programming service – elected to not carry the remainder of the network's schedule; eventually, after SmackDown moved to Syfy, WLMT's RTV-affiliated second digital subchannel picked up the remainder of the MyNetworkTV lineup as a secondary affiliation.
Also in September 2009, KDMI/Des Moines, Iowa dropped MyNetworkTV to air This TV full-time. For nearly a year afterwards, local CW affiliate KCWI-TV picked up SmackDown and aired it in a very similar manner to WLMT. Until October 3, 2011, when KDMI rejoined the service, Des Moines was the largest media market without a MyNetworkTV affiliate – either over-the-air or on cable. On September 19, 2011, KWKB/Cedar Rapids, Iowa dropped the service in order to become a full-time CW affiliate; ABC affiliate KCRG-TV later picked up MyNetworkTV for its second digital subchannel.
Due to the availability of "instant duopoly" digital subchannels that are likely easily available on cable and satellite, and the overall lack of a need to settle for a secondary affiliation with shows aired in problematic time slots, both The CW and MyNetworkTV launched with far greater national coverage than that enjoyed by UPN and The WB when those networks started in 1995. UPN for several years had gaps in the top 30 markets, and by 2005 managed to reach only 86% of the population. This resulted in secondary affiliations with stations carrying other networks. In those markets, programs (such as Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise) were either shown out of their intended timeslots or not at all, leading to many viewer complaints. There are a handful of smaller markets, however, that have MyNetworkTV as a secondary affiliation – even on digital subchannels – because those markets have only very few stations, and want to place more emphasis on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliations that those markets may have previously lacked on those subchannels.
Nevertheless, because MyNetworkTV was announced after the formation of The CW and thus got most of the "leftover" stations shut out by The CW, there are still availability issues in some markets. In addition, the network is mostly relegated to low-powered stations in some smaller markets, which do not have must-carry status. The arrival of WWE SmackDown to the network has shown this the most, as wrestling fans have complained about the availability issues in several markets that have The CW but not MyNetworkTV. This was most evident in the Lexington, Kentucky market, when local SmackDown viewers actually protested that they could not watch the program because of low-powered MyNetworkTV/Retro Television Network affiliate WBLU-LP not having carriage on area cable providers. That was solved shortly afterward when ABC affiliate WTVQ agreed to move its weather forecast digital subchannel to 36.3 and convert its former spot on 36.2 into a MyNetworkTV affiliate, stripping WBLU of its affiliation in the process.
In the months before the network's launch, several stations changed their on-air identities to accommodate for the then-upcoming network, including all of the network's charter affiliates owned by sister company Fox Television Stations. Affiliates also began to show promotions for the network featuring the theme of "Entertainment you can call your own." At first, many Fox-owned stations branded local programming on their soon-to-be MyNetworkTV O&Os with the "My" moniker (for example, WWOR-TV was branded as "My 9"). However, by the third week in October, at least one station, KCOP-TV/Los Angeles, went to a two-column brand – with the network logo on the left side and the channel number, 13, on the right – rendering the verbal identification as "MyNetworkTV, Channel 13" (KCOP reverted to the simpler "My 13" branding in May 2007).
However while this is the conventional branding style for the network, at least sixteen MyNetworkTV affiliates (as of September 2013) currently do not use the "My" branding in any capacity: KTRV-TV/Boise, Idaho (branded as "12KTRV"), KPDX/Portland, Oregon (branded as "PDX TV"), KARZ-TV/Little Rock (which goes by "Z42", but it was branded "My 42" until 2009), WPME/Portland, Maine (which identifies by its callsign, though it was branded as "MyTV WPME" until 2009), WSTR-TV/Cincinnati (referred to by their longtime branding of "Star 64", though it branded as "My64" until 2009), KZJO/Seattle (referred to as "JOEtv" since a 2010 callsign change, though it was branded as "MyQ²" until 2010), WPHL-TV/Philadelphia (referred to by longtime moniker "PHL 17", though it was branded "MyPHL17" prior to 2010), a digital subchannel of Madison, Wisconsin CBS affiliate WISC-TV (branded as "TVW", but it was known as "My Madison TV" until 2009), KFVE/Honolulu (which has branded with its call letters since it moved to virtual channel 9, and previously "K-5" when it was on channel 5), KSMO-TV/Kansas City (which brands by its call letters, though it was branded "myKSMO TV" until 2011), San Antonio affiliate KCWX/Fredericksburg, Texas (which has simply used its call letters since it switched from The CW to MyNetworkTV in 2010, though previous affiliate KMYS had branded as "My 35"), KBVO/Austin, Texas (which identifies by its callsign), WXSP-CD/Grand Rapids, Michigan (branded as "the X") and WTTA/Tampa, Florida (which switched its branding from "My TV Tampa Bay" to "Great 38" in September 2013, shortly after it was fully acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group) – however, WSTR, WPHL, KSMO and WXSP-CD's respective on-air logos are still patterned after the MyNetworkTV logo. WUAB/Cleveland, Ohio uses a block logo with the branding "my 43 the block", a logo first introduced in 1998 and reintroduced in 2010. In Youngstown, Ohio, a digital subchannel of WYTV-DT2 uses a logo that is similar to sister station's WYTV-TV, WYFX-LD, and WKBN-TV.
Two former affiliates also did not use any MyNetworkTV branding on-air: now-independent station KAUT-TV/Oklahoma City (branded under a unique format appealing to the market's military population as "Freedom 43 TV", and previously "OK43") and former Boston affiliate WBIN-TV/Derry, New Hampshire (referred to as "The New WBIN-TV" since a 2011 call change, though it was branded as either "My TV New England" or simply "My TV" prior to 2011).
The network has no digital on-screen graphic logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, allowing its local stations to use their own logo instead if they choose to do so. On November 13, 2006, the network added a translucent program logo to the bottom left side of the screen, but discontinued it in March with the beginning of the third telenovela cycle.
At the time plans for MyNetworkTV were announced, there was at least one station that was using a similar moniker. WZMY-TV in Derry, New Hampshire filed a trademark for the "MyTV" name in the summer of 2005, and for a short time there was speculation the station might sue Fox for the use of "MyTV". However, on July 21, 2006, an e-mail was sent to WZMY's MyTV e-mail subscribers that the station would become the Boston area's MyNetworkTV affiliate. The official announcement came the following week. (as noted above, what is now WBIN-TV stopped using the branding prior to ending its MyNetworkTV affiliation on September 16, 2011). On September 19, WSBK-TV (as noted above) took over the MyNetworkTV affiliation in the Boston market from WBIN-TV and now uses both the "My" branding and its existing "TV 38" branding, with the logo patterned after the MyNetworkTV logo (the blue on the lower right hand corner of the logo has been replaced with the orange of the station's "TV 38" logo; Miami sister station WBFS followed suit the same day).