CW Sunday: The Line Forms to the Right, No Shoving

Proving that the TV business ain’t what it used to be, the CW will give up programming Sunday nights, as my colleague Cynthia Littleton reported.

Hey, we get it, CW has its hands full just dealing with Monday through Friday. In essence, NBC’s move to strip Jay Leno weeknights represents its own version of a give-back, accepting lower ratings in exchange for the certainty of not losing piles of money on failed dramas.

What got my attention, though, was the following comment from Acme Television President Doug Gealy, who seemed to think that program suppliers would be beating a path to CW stations’ door to fill the gap that the network is leaving.

“Syndicators are
going to be lining up to fill those time periods,” he said.

We all saw how well “those time periods” worked out for Media Rights Capital, to which CW briefly brokered its Sunday lineup. Moreover, the cornerstone of CW’s affiliates roster remains Tribune, which still owes millions to the studios thanks to its bankruptcy-protection filing.

As a result, the only way programming for those time periods will work is by airing shows that are either produced on the cheap or which approach the U.S. as a secondary market, originated in Canada or Europe. Either way, one suspects it won’t be the kind of fare that will inspire TiVo devices all over America to be pressed into service to save them for posterity.

So go ahead, syndicators, start lining up, and try to be orderly about it. There’s no reason to look like you’re in a hurry to lose money.

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