Making The CW: Garth Ancier Says Goodbye To The WB

The birth of something as rare as a broadcast network is a mostly happy occasion, even if the mother dies from the exertion of pushing the baby through the birth canal of joint corporate sponsorship, and the OB/GYN suddenly produces a snub-nose revolver and guns down the proud father while he turns to pass out cigars. (We dream-cast Les Moonves in the doctor role, of course.) After all, a new life is created, whatever the human cost. Completing our trifecta of The CW announcement memos, The WB chairman Garth Ancier (who won't be joining the new network, funny that) takes some of his soon-to-be human cost for a stroll down Memory Lane, and reminds them that there is work to be done, right up until the the Guillotine of Downsizing's shiny blade sends their heads tumbling down the street into the Burbank traffic:

All of us at The WB need to keep this network as vibrant as it has always been at serving the American public from today through the launch of the new network this fall. We have exciting programs like “PEPPER DENNIS” to launch, new pilots like “AQUAMAN” to develop, immensely popular series like “SMALLVILLE” and “GILMORE GIRLS” to protect, and farewells to audience favorites like “7th HEAVEN” to manage. We will need all of you to keep your focus on these critical goals through September. [...]


I believe that history will look very kindly on the little network that, against all odds, beckoned us to move to Dawson’s idyllic Creek, be a part of the Camden family, believe in the power of 3 Charmed sisters, gave us the chance to watch Clark Kent grow up, hunt vampires with Buffy and Angel, go to college with Felicity, see ourselves in the father/son and mother/daughter relationships of Everwood and Star’s Hollow, and laugh with Reba, Jamie, Steve and the Mowry twins. It has been quite a ride.

We're pretty sure that Star's Hollow isn't actually a show, but on a busy day like this, we'll give Ancier a little slack for making stuff up while he was on a roll.

The entire memo is after the jump:

Dear Colleague,

A few moments ago in New York at a joint press conference, Warner Bros., CBS Broadcasting, and The Tribune Company announced the formation of a new broadcast network that will launch in September ’06.

This new and historic venture will be an equal partnership between Warner Bros. and CBS Broadcasting, and will draw upon the best programs, stations, and executive minds from both The WB Television Network and UPN. The company will be called The CW Television Network, reflecting the monikers of the corporate partners.

Indeed, three talented executives are named in today’s announcement, which you just received from Barry Meyer. They are John Maatta, who will be Chief Operating Officer, Dawn Ostroff, who will serve as President of Entertainment, and Bill Morningstar, who will lead Sales. John and Dawn will report to a board of directors equally drawn from Warner Bros. and CBS Broadcasting.

As Dawn and John select their new team, I am confident that you will find many, many longtime colleagues from The WB serving with them.

The decision to combine the best of these networks was not made lightly. We all realized that in today’s more competitive environment for all broadcasters and networks, neither The WB or UPN could reach the ambitious goals we had collectively envisioned when the two networks launched 11 years ago this month.

By contrast, all of us believe that The CW can grow into a fully competitive fifth network. Moreover, we felt that the opportunity to do this now – while both The WB and UPN could both provide rich program assets and solid balance sheets to draw upon – was too compelling an opportunity to overlook.

Late this afternoon, upon their return from New York, Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum will be here at the ranch to answer your questions.

As for myself, while I have been actively engaged in forming this new venture – and am excited by the exhilarating times that lie ahead for many of you - I had made clear to Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum early in the discussions my desire to explore and expand my own experiences in this new age of digital opportunity. I have had the genuine honor of being an architect of two successful start-up broadcast networks over the past 20 years, and am yearning to try something different.

I will, however, continue to manage The WB with you over the coming months, and that leads me to perhaps the most important part of this note.

All of us at The WB need to keep this network as vibrant as it has always been at serving the American public from today through the launch of the new network this fall. We have exciting programs like “PEPPER DENNIS” to launch, new pilots like “AQUAMAN” to develop, immensely popular series like “SMALLVILLE” and “GILMORE GIRLS” to protect, and farewells to audience favorites like “7th HEAVEN” to manage. We will need all of you to keep your focus on these critical goals through September.

A final note, a bit more personal. I recognize that there is an inevitable emotional sadness to ending The WB Television Network. We have accomplished much over these past 11 years. We have put more series into successful syndication than just about any other network during this period, helped launch the careers of countless feature film stars, and built an American brand that is ubiquitous. We all did this together, and we should be genuinely proud of these accomplishments.

I believe that history will look very kindly on the little network that, against all odds, beckoned us to move to Dawson’s idyllic Creek, be a part of the Camden family, believe in the power of 3 Charmed sisters, gave us the chance to watch Clark Kent grow up, hunt vampires with Buffy and Angel, go to college with Felicity, see ourselves in the father/son and mother/daughter relationships of Everwood and Star’s Hollow, and laugh with Reba, Jamie, Steve and the Mowry twins. It has been quite a ride.

The new network announced today would certainly not have been possible without the accomplishments and legacy of The WB Television Network.

With gratitude,

Garth Ancier

Chairman

The WB Television Network


[Photo: GettyImages]