CW Creates Small-Market Service

With its negotiations in mid-sized markets under way, The CW is now courting affiliates in smaller markets. The network plans to assemble a group of stations called the CW Plus that, similar to the current WB 100+, will run a similar programming feed and be distributed over-the-air and on cable-only stations.

The CW plans to launch its service in markets no. 103 to 210, along with Harlingen, Tex., and Charleston, S.C., according to a proposal sent to prospective affiliates. Initially, the network is asking for two-year deals.

As it did with larger-market stations, CW is laying out terms for affiliates that include paying for programming. The network is asking CW Plus outlets to name a fee they would pay for programming or commit to turn over 30% of their net revenue. In prime time, affiliates will receive 6 minutes of local commercial time.

The plan does allow for some local flexibility. Stations can insert a 30-minute local news program at 10 p.m. and elect to run some of their own syndicated programming.

But, for stations who elect the network feed, the CW will offer a full compliment of programming, including syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz, off-net sit-coms like Roseanne and The Bernie Mac Show, Will & Grace, and Sex and the City, and Cops.

Currently, the WB 100+ reaches into every market via cable or, in a handful of situations, over-the-air stations.

The CW was expected to convert many of cable-only stations to the new network and will likely do so in markets where there is no broadcast station as a  partner. However, the CW has said it will affiliate with the strongest stations and, where there is an available over-the-air station, whether WB or UPN, industry executives expect the network to try and strike a deal.