My Beef with the WB

Posted: December 21, 2005 in Business, Pop Culture, Television

With apologies to my readers that are fans of its shows, but I’m perversely gleeful about the problems and shake-ups at the WB Network.  My beef with the network is pretty simple and hard-headed: when the WB was launched in 1995, its Chicago affiliate WGN had to cut the number of the station’s Cubs and White Sox baseball telecasts in half in order to make room for inane shows by the Wayans brothers.

For most of Western Civilization and the developed world, this wasn’t a problem because they could simply switch the approriate cable television channel to watch those games.  However, at the time of the WB launch, I lived in a mud hut with parents who to this day have never paid a dime in their lives for cable.  If you don’t know me already, you’ll find out soon enough that I am a baseball freak, so after being accustomed to watching baseball on a daily basis for seriously as long as I could remember watching TV, finding an episode of “Sister, Sister” on WGN rather than a meaningless mid-September Sox-Royals game spurred me to initiate a personal boycott.  Even though I now have a DirecTV account that gives me access to hundreds of more baseball games than I could ever possibly watch, I still can’t evaluate any show on the WB objectively because of this deep-seeded bias against anything that appears on the network.

Of course, since the WB has banked its entire existence on attracting an audience of teenage girls (not my biased words – that’s the linked New York Times article’s analysis), it hasn’t been hard for me to avoid its shows.  I’m glad the WB’s executives paid $100,000 for their Ivy League MBAs and blew literally hundreds of millions of dollars in television production costs before figuring out that (surprise!) teenage girls are a pretty fickle audience, meaning that they had a shaky foundation for an over-the-air TV network.  I could have told them that when I was a high school kid who just wanted to watch some baseball in 1995.

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