August 31, 2008

Rerun Richochet

This has been the year we have seen the big networks all swallow their prides and finally accept the web as a viable means of delivering content to its loyal viewers.

Content on demand, when we can fit it into our busy schedules and content that isn't some user generated crap.

Networks like NBC pretty much giving us whatever it is we want to watch on both its network as well as Fox via the online network called Not just shows that are running now but also past shows that may have not hit the rerun circuit but that can draw advertising dollars and provide nostalgic injections of some old favorites.

Today I had noticed something really interesting, the old WB network, which in my day was simply Channel 11 and Channel 9 in NYC, which is now called CW Network which runs on two channels, I think, has resurrected its former incarnation of The WB online.

The WB began its life in 1995, broadcasting a paltry 2 hours of cheesy teen entertainment one night a week. The WB's first shows were mostly sitcoms targeted at an ethnically diverse audience. Even though four of the five shows shown in the netlet's first nine months (The Wayans Bros., The Parent 'Hood, Sister, Sister (picked up after being cancelled by ABC), and Unhappily Ever After) were renewed beyond the first year, none of them made a significant impact on anything.

The WB began programming on Sunday nights in the 1995-1996 season, but none of the new shows managed to garner much viewing interest. Still, the network continued to expand in the 1996-1997 season, adding programming on Monday nights.

That season gave the WB modest hits in the family drama 7th Heaven and comedies The Steve Harvey Show and The Jamie Foxx Show. We all know where Jaime Foxx is now.

The WB also added the Kids' WB programming blo in 1995, which mixed Warner Brothers' biggest hit shows (Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs and later Batman: The Animated Series, all of which originated either on Fox Kids or in syndication) with new productions and original shows.

In 2006, CBS and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced plans to can both UPN and The WB and launch a new network, The CW in their place. Over the next nine months, it was to be seen which shows from UPN and The WB would cross over to the new CW, as well as which stations across the country would become future affiliates of the new network.

A slice of time has now been captured online. Our beloved web is now a time machine for those who want to revel in an hour of Friends and then some Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

In an unprecedented and in my opinion a genius strategic play, The WB, an entire network, has been reincarnated online.

Click here for a preview.

The web is the new wild west, a frontier, a place where media can be reinvigorated and where anyone can now start an online network of both original content as well as content that once held the hearts of millions of viewers.

It is the new Rerun Model.

Networks will be salivating over the ability to recreate a slice of time that was wildly popular.

Imagine the old NBC line up featuring the Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice coming back to life online.

The late Brandon Tartikoff would have been proud.

Now shows can be rebroadcast in a multitude of various formats. We can now enjoy the television that has shaped pop culture anytime we want. The strength this garners the web is unfathomable.

The web is now a new fertile landscape where the old is new again and where slices of time can live always.

A true monument to mankind. Buffy will never die!

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