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Today is

January 24, 2006

What a news week THIS turned out to be!

I expected to have absolutely nothing to write about. I thought I was going to have to talk about the continuing saga of P. Miller on “Dancing with the Stars.” So therefore, I’d like to thank NBC and CBS for providing me with items to discuss.

Let’s start with some big breaking news: the end of the line for both UPN and The WB. The networks that brought us “America’s Next Top Model,” “Beauty and the Geek,” repeats of “The Amazing Race,” and “Play for a Billion” are joining forces to become “The CW.”

GSNN readers know me as a ‘game show geek.’ But above that, I’m a TV geek. And television will be undergoing a major shift in the next eight months thanks to this merger. Virtually every major TV market in this country has both a WB and a UPN affiliated station. Only one of the two will get the CW affiliation. The other might be in trouble, especially if it’s the WB station getting the shaft.

Take, for example, Philadelphia. WPSG, the current UPN affiliate, is getting the CW designation. That means that well-known WB affiliate WPHL is out of luck. And in Boston, WLVI, the current WB affiliate, gets the CW programming…leaving nationally broadcast (thanks to satellite TV) WSBK with no network affiliation.

In markets like this, it was decided as part of the deal. In others though, it’s going to be an all-out war for who gets the programming. If the local UPN station loses out…it’s only ten hours of programming gone. If the local WB station doesn’t get the CW programming, they’re out 20-30 hours of programming weekly…a big hole to fill.

Keep an eye out in your local markets…this is a story you’ll see continue to play out through the spring and maybe into the summer. The new network’s members (WB and UPN) already have previously committed to new seasons of “Geek” and “Model.” It’s not clear whether those commitments bind over to the new network.

Let’s move on.

NBC announced big changes for spring and summer. The Olympic torch will barely be out at Torino before Howie Mandel starts asking “Deal or No Deal.” The series returns the night after the closing ceremonies for another five night stretch. In a semi-surprising move, it will then air weekly on Mondays after that.

I’m not sure if viewers are going to be willing to wait an entire week for payoff on a show like this. Maybe I’m wrong…just seems that way to me. That’s why I’ve said this show is a candidate for syndication all along.

After DoND on Mondays…another surprise. It’s DoND…then DONALD. “The Apprentice” shifts to Mondays (better than the anticipated Wednesday death slot against “Lost”) for the new series. The problem: you’re up against FOX juggernaut “24.” But at least you avoid “American Idol.”

In the summer…yet another surprise. The return of “Last Comic Standing” to NBC. After the disastrous ratings of the last season…the renewal is a bit of a shocker. But executives say they feel they rushed the last series on too fast…and going back to using it as a summer series is smart. We’ll see if they’re right. NBC will also debut an “Amazing Race”-esque series that sounds intriguing: “Treasure Hunters.”

You have to give NBC credit…at least they’re trying.

InSites Interactive

I was going to talk about “Skating with Celebrities” in this space this week. But to be honest…the show was bad. But I do give props to the series’ producers for apparently canning the overhyped announcer from the first episode. That was just nerve-grating.

Game Show Alphabet

I promised to take you to Harlemm this week. Harlemm Lee, that is. You see, Harlemm was the winner of the NBC reality contest “Fame,” which is this week’s game show alphabet feature. And you probably don’t remember who won the show…the vast majority of you probably don’t care. And that was exactly the problem.

Few people saw Harlemm win. Even fewer knew that he had apparently been a recording artist more than a decade before, named Gerry Woo. (Read more about that by clicking the link below.)

So “Fame” might live forever…but the reality series “Fame”…doesn’t.

Jason Elliott wants to learn how to fly... HIGH! E-mail him at


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