The Unbearable Hackdom of Bill Carter
Two small television networks became a large one yesterday when CBS and the Warner Brothers Entertainment unit of Time Warner joined forces to form a new, youth-oriented network out of the programs on UPN and WB.This would lead the reasonable reader to believe that something about the merged network will be in some sense larger than its constituent antecedents. Will it be larger in that it airs more programming? No, it will air precisely the same number of hours of network programming per week that the WB aired. Will it be larger in terms of the number of people who work there? Perhaps, though no reporting has indicated that, and it would defy logic to hire substantially more people to work at the CW than worked at the WB or UPN, since the new network will air no more content than the old ones did and will have precisely the same mission--snag young viewers. Will it be larger in terms of viewers? Well, let's see--if you count the fact that there's ABSOLUTELY NO EARTHLY REASON to assume that any more people will tune into the CW than separately tuned into the WB or UPN, then no. On the other hand, if you count the fact that LES MOONVES IS AWESOME, than sure, why the hell not? Larger it is.
The move underscored the expanding power in the television industry of the CBS chief executive, Leslie Moonves, just a few weeks into his tenure atop a stand-alone media company. He will now oversee not only CBS, the most-watched of the broadcast networks, but also an enhanced part-time network aimed at viewers under 35 years old -- the audience that CBS reaches least well.This would lead a reasonable reader to believe that, after the merger, Moonves will have more power than he had prior to the merger. Well, let's see: Right now, pre-merger, Moonves controls a massively powerful broadcast network in the form of CBS, a struggling mini-network in the form of UPN, and a bunch of other shit. Post-merger, he will control a massively powerful broadcast network in the form of CBS, share control in a 50-50 partnership with Warner Bros. over a mini-network that for all we know could lose more money than UPN and the WB put together, and the same bunch of other shit that he controlled pre-merger. Sounds like an expansion to me.
Way to swing for the fences, Bill.