UPN, WB to cease broadcasting

UPNWanna-be fifth networks UPN and the WB both announce that they will go off the air in late 2006, after 11 years of struggling to make a dent against the “big four” networks. (Both networks signed on in January 1995, the WB premiering its programming one week before UPN went on the air with the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager; WB later found its own genre niche with the series adaptation of Joss Whedon’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and its popular spinoff, Angel, along with the “young Superman” prequel Smallville.) However, some of their programming may survive to be seen on a new joint venture between Warner Bros. and UPN’s parent network, CBS. This new network, The CW, will have programming and personnel held over from both defunct networks. The announcements do not mention how the merger will work out in broadcast markets where affiliate stations exist for both networks.