Is Tribune abandoning The CW? (updated)

Probably not, but if The CW doesn’t make it into season four, Tribune is creating a contingency plan – just in case. Tribune owns fifteen CW affiliates, including WGN-TV in Chicago, WPIX in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles.

However, CW officials deny their network is going out of business anytime soon, pointing to the increased haul they took from the recent upfronts and support from the advertising community.

But even so – with ratings still weak for The CW, is there a rift developing between the network and Tribune?

As they say in TV land – stay tuned.

UPDATE: The link in the story above was corrected, as there was an error in the story regarding an opt-out for affiliates in January 2009 which did not exist.

Thought: Personally, I think it’s time to pull the plug on this turkey. Even with an increased haul of ad dollars (misguidedly spent, of course), this network is still going to bleed money. What if it doesn’t meet its rating targets? It’s make-good-a-palooza time.

A general broadcast network targeting a narrow demo (women 18-34) that’s basically abandoning television for the Internet isn’t exactly a good business plan, but the suits at CBS and Time Warner don’t want to hear any of it. In fact, cable networks MTV, Lifetime, and Oxygen does a better job targeting women 18-34 than The CW. WGN and the rest of the Tribune group really doesn’t need this network. They can come up with better programming – not sissy junk like Gossip Girl and a 90210 retread (Star Trek: The Next Generation it isn’t.)

And by the way, Gossip Girl is not a success. This is like saying the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals are having wonderful seasons thus far. The Mariners fired their GM today. How about that? Even the worst baseball team in the majors is making smarter decisions than The CW.

Unless they can find the next American Idol or Simpsons, The CW is today’s version of DuMont – the network that died in the 1950’s.

updated 2:31 a.m. on 2008-06-17