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The CW puts plans by KXLY on hold

January 29, 2006

By Jim Kershner
The Spokesman-Review

Local broadcasters called it a “bombshell” when the news arrived on Tuesday that the WB and UPN networks would merge into a new network called The CW.

First of all, it means that KXLY-TV’s planned launch of a new UPN affiliate (announced less than two weeks ago) is on hold.

“We’re going to step back and re-evaluate,” said KXLY’s Kirstin Votava. “We’re talking to our contacts at UPN. Stations all over the country are reeling from this.”

KXLY will continue to run UPN shows in the wee hours of Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings through next Sunday. After that, everything is uncertain.

At KSKN-22, Spokane’s WB affiliate, the future is uncertain as well. The WB will remain intact until September, but D.J. Wilson, the KREM-KSKN general manager, said it’s too early to say whether KSKN will then become The CW station.

KSKN may have the inside track, since it already has connections with both the WB and (through sister station KREM-2) CBS, which is partnering with Warner Bros. on the new network.

“The option is ours, I believe,” said Wilson. “We will have the option to become The CW or to become an independent station.”

She said that she expects to “begin the conversation” with the new network in the future.

Wilson said everyone in the industry was taken by surprise by the merger. The surprise may have been particularly acute at KXLY, because of the unfortunate timing.

“We learned a lot in the process,” said Votava. “But at least we weren’t two years down the road.”

Sunday, January 29, 2006



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