Here are my highlights/notes (bolding mine) from SEASON FINALE: THE UNEXPECTED RISE AND FALL OF THE WB AND UPN by Susanne Daniels and Cynthia Littleton.
If you’re interested in how networks are created or in the film/tv industry, it’s a book you should read from cover-to-cover.
People interested more in the craft will be content to jump around to sections where Susanne discusses working with different writers, like Joss Whedon, Kevin Williamson, and J.J. Abrams.
Moonves, the charismatic head of the Warner Bros.’ Television production division, also made a point of attending. At that moment, the career of Moonves was riding high; he had just unleashed two huge hits—ER and Friends—on NBC a few months earlier. Moonves was striving to be a team player by showing up for the launch party. He’d been upset by the way the WB came together in secret among Barry Meyer, Jamie Kellner, and a few other Warner Bros.’ executives during the summer of 1993. He felt undeservedly snubbed by having been kept out of the loop, and he was not happy that neither Kellner nor the network reported to him within the Warner Bros.’ hierarchy. Moonves figured that if his division was expected to supply the bulk of the network’s shows, he ought to be able to at least have a say in how the network was run. But Kellner was not about to let Moonves into the tent. During his time with Fox, Kellner had earned his credentials as a network builder. This time around, Kellner intended to be an owner, not an employee, of his new venture. He would report to Meyer, not Moonves. 198
Paramount had flirted with on and off for years: the launch of its own broadcast network. Of 251
dubs of the two-hour Voyager premiere episode that was supposed to screen during the Hollywood party. When the envelope was found, there were two sets of Voyager tapes inside. UPN’s energetic young head of publicity, Kevin Brockman, thought he was going to be ill when he realized what had happened. One of the Voyager dubs was supposed to be at the Roundabout Theater for the screening at the New York party. Brockman sprinted from the soundstage where the party was to be held, across the lot, and back to his office. 257
introduced the special guests, including Herbert Siegel, the chairman of Chris-Craft Industries, which was bankrolling the network in partnership with Paramount, and Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, which acquired Paramount in early 1994. 275
and still catching his breath from dodging a bullet on opening night. Redstone and Siegel, who were both in their early 70s at the time, sauntered by as they were leaving. “I think that went rather well, don’t you?” Redstone said to Siegel. 291
Just a few years after the WB’s peak, on the morning of Tuesday, January 24, 2006, the corporate heads of the network dropped a bombshell: UPN, our rival, the outfit we had been battling for more than a decade, would merge with the WB to form a single new network, the CW. The announcement, which came as a shock to most employees at both networks, signaled many things to the entertainment industry, but perhaps most dramatically, it heralded the end of an era in broadcast television. 312
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