UPN, The WB Merge, Form New Network:The CW

In the “it’s about time they did that” category:
From TV Week’s Jay Sherman:

“CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced Tuesday that they are merging The WB Network and UPN to create a new network to be called The CW.

“The network, which will launch in September, will be owned jointly by Warner Bros. and CBS Corp., with each company owning a 50 percent stake in the network. Tribune Co., which had owned a stake in The WB, will become an affiliate of the new network but won’t own a stake. Tribune has signed a 10-year affiliation agreement with the new network.

“UPN President Dawn Ostroff will become president of entertainment of the new network, while John Matta, chief operating officer of The WB, will become chief operating officer of The CW.

“Tribune’s 16 major-market stations and the 12 CBS-owned UPN stations will give The CW immediate coverage of 48 percent. The remaining distribution will be a combination of selected UPN and WB affiliates that is expected to exceed 95 percent of the United States.

“On the programming side, The CW will have a six-night, 13-hour prime-time lineup seven days a week, using a combination of programming from both UPN and The WB. The lineup of programs in the new network’s lineup will be described later, according to the announcement.”

Yes, I know the WB doesn’t still use Michigan J. Frog; I LIKE the Frog.

Shelley Winters

When I read about the death of Shelley Winters, I didn’t have anything pithy to say. I believe the only movie of hers I’d seen was the Poseidon Adventure, in which her swimming ability is a key plot point.

But what slipped my mind was that I’d seen her several times on television: Batman, Here’s Lucy, a number of episodes of Roseanne, and most notably, on Chico and the Man -what made it notable was that her character’s name was Shirley Schrift, Ms. Winters’ real name.

And then there’s another story, for which I will evoke the most vilified woman in show business, at least among the likely readers of this piece, Whoopi Goldberg.

Actually, the two women have something in common. Both have been given Oscars as Best Supporting Actress, Shelley Winters in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)and A Patch of Blue (1965), Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost (1990).

Back in the days of vinyl, a friend of mine who worked for a record company sent me sample albums. One of them was the “soundtrack” of Whoopi’s one-woman show on Broadway (October 1984-March 1985), which I enjoyed tremendously. During her first monologue, she plays a drug dealer named Fontaine, who is visiting the Netherlands, goes to the Anne Frank House, and is startled to see there Shelley Winters’ Oscar for The Diary of Anne Frank. (Apparently, Whoopi is still telling that story, perhaps not to such great effect.)

So, it is through Whoopi Goldberg that I first heard about Shelley Winters’ generosity of spirit.

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