Warners readies 6th TV network

July 29, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- Are you ready for a sixth TV network?

Just days after Paramount announced it will launch a fifth television network in January, another Hollywood studio -- Warner Brothers -- yesterday announced that it, too, would start a TV network in January.

The WB Television Network will have the eight stations in Tribune Broadcasting as its flagship affiliates.

The Tribune connection is the key to WB's viability; the company has stations in some of the country's biggest markets, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Jamie Kellner, the chief executive of WB, said the network has a total of only "about 30 affiliates" signed. By comparison, NBC has 214.

But Kellner says WB will still reach about 70 percent of all homes in the country, because one of the Tribune properties is Superstation WGN, which will bring WB programs to hundreds of cable systems in markets where WB does not have an affiliate.

WB will not have an affiliate in Baltimore; all five commercial stations here are aligned with networks.

Nor will people on the city's United Cable system be able to see WB shows, since the system does not carry WGN.

"Building a dedicated delivery system in today's and tomorrow's world will take some innovation, evolution and unconventional alliances," said Kellner, a former president of Fox Broadcasting during its formative years.

Like Paramount, WB will start with four hours of prime-time programming on two nights.

There's a new children's program headed for public television, and it's coming out of Owings Mills.

PBS announced it will be adding a new "eco-adventure series" for kids called "Kratt's Creatures."

The show, which will join the national lineup in fall or winter of 1996, is being co-produced by Maryland Public Television and the Paragon Entertainment Corp.

Donald Marbury, director of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Program Fund, described the show as "a ground-breaking children's series with a fresh, hip and kid-friendly approach to learning about wildlife and the environment."

The title comes from the brothers Martin and Chris Kratt, who are co-hosts for the series.

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