Net gain for the CW

Fledgling web adds stations in affil deals

The CW has added stations in Cleveland; Orlando, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Louisville, Ky.; and South Bend, Ind., boosting the new network’s coverage to 52% of the country.

Deals signed with four current WB stations and one UPN station represent the first affiliation deals for the CW outside those owned by CBS and Tribune Broadcasting.

“They are the first independently owned stations to join the CW, and they represent the first wave of affiliations, with many more in the weeks ahead,” said chief operating officer John Maatta.

The stations represent coverage for the CW in the 16th, 20th, 50th and 87th media markets, reaching 4.32% of U.S. households.

Stations are owned by a group of strong independents; that they were awarded CW affiliations came as no surprise to observers.

“The WB station is the most likely candidate for (a CW affiliation) in most situations,” said Bill Carroll, veep of Katz Television Group.

The one UPN affil that won a CW affiliation, WJZY-TV in Charlotte, is owned by Raleigh-based Capitol Broadcasting, which also owns the WB affiliate in the same market.

Presumably those stations agreed to the standard terms, which include a payment to the network to carry the signal, a long-term agreement and a commitment to spend to promote the net in their market.

Smaller stations — those in fourth and fifth place in their markets — also have the option of affiliating with Fox’s My Network TV, which is offering extremely station-friendly terms, including nine minutes of primetime air to sell, instead of the standard six minutes.

The new CW affiliates join Tribune Co.’s 16 major-market stations and CBS’ 11 major-market UPN affiliates.

The CW said it expects to reach 95% of the country by signing up a combination of UPN and WB affils in the coming weeks.