Tribune has scrubbed The CW monkier off almost all of its’ affiliates websites, and its sending a message to the beleaguered network – improve your ratings.
Tribune has even changed the branding of many of its CW stations. For example, WDCW-TV in Washington, D.C. goes by the name “DC 50” instead of “CW 50”. For KWGN-TV in Denver, it’s now “2” instead of “CW 2”. Internet domain names have changed, with WPIX-TV in New York going by WPIX.com instead of CW11.com (the CW 11 branding still remains.)
In fact, The CW’s logo has been de-emphasized to the point where it’s not even on the home page – check out WGN-TV’s site (except for a ad.)
And one station has even changed its call letters – Houston’s KHCW-TV is now KIAH-TV, the fourth call letter change in fourteen years at Channel 39.
The moves come as tensions are propping up between Tribune and The CW. Last month, KSWB-TV in San Diego switched to Fox, while there’s a possibility KPLR-TV in St. Louis – who was forced to turn down ABC twice because of sports commitments – could join the alphabet net once Sinclair-owned KDNL-TV’s contract with the network ends next year. Tribune’s WGNO-TV is already an ABC affiliate. KDNL has no local news operation, while KPLR does.
All of this is happening while Tribune is keeping the branding for other networks on its’ other stations – especially with My Network TV, where Tribune owns MNT affiliates in Philadelphia (WPHL-TV) and Seattle (KMYQ-TV.)
Tribune’s new management team – led by owner Sam Zell, are making these changes as ratings for The CW haven’t materialized as the company had hoped.
Tonight was the series premiere of 90210, the much-hyped revival of the 1990-2000 Fox series (except in Chicago, where as of this writing, 90210 is scheduled to air after WGN’s newscast – which is being held up by a Cubs game that is in extra innings…)
– On a related note, six Tribune stations have agreed to obtain the local market rights to air NFL games simulcast on the NFL network featuring the market’s local team. The markets include New York (WPIX with the Jets), Denver (KWGN), New Orleans (WGNO), Dallas (KDAF), San Diego (KSWB) and Indianapolis (WXIN.) Of those six, three are CW affiliates.