News Corp. to Launch New Mini-Network for UPN Stations
2/22/2006 4:25 PM PT
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
News Corp. announced Wednesday it would launch a new mini-network called My Network TV that will supply prime-time programming for the 10 local TV stations the company owns that were left without programming after UPN announced it would close.
The core of the new programming lineup will be two serial drama shows that will air six days a week with 13-week story lines, similar to the 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 prime-time shows.
The new network 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. These stations are owned by News Corp.'s Fox Television Group.
Roger Ailes, who built Fox News Channel into the leading all-news cable network, will be in charge of the new operation.
Fox has had experience going up against incumbent broadcasters successfully in the past. Fox News Channel leapfrogged CNN in the all-news category, and the Fox Broadcast Network became a significant player in a field that had been dominated by the three main television networks: CBS, General Electric Co.'s NBC and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC.
Jack Abernethy, the head of the Fox Television Station Group, said he expected the new network to be profitable right away.
The 10 Fox stations were left without programming after struggling networks UPN and The WB decided to combine. The two networks announced last month that they would combine their assets into a new network, called CW, which will be a 50-50 venture between CBS Corp., which owns the UPN network, and WB-owner Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Shares of News Corp. rose 7 cents to $16.09 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.