The CW: What's in a Name?

You have to wonder if CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves wasn’t anticipating the nearly universal derision aimed at the name for the new CBS/Warner Bros. venture, The CW, when he preempted the bathroom jokesters, explaining: "We couldn’t call it The WC for obvious reasons."

If that’s obvious, it seems "The CW" is anything but.

What comes to mind when you hear "The CW?" Here’s what some marketing savants had to say about the name at the National Association of Tele­vision Program Executives conference in Las Vegas.

"Does that stand for ‘Country/Western?’" wondered Irwin Gottleib, CEO of the mega media buying firm Group M. Peggy Green, president, broadcast and entertainment, Zenith Media USA, wasn’t the only one with "Carsey-Werner" on the brain, but we imagine Jack Myers, ad consultant and publisher of The Myers Report, was alone in thinking "Chuck Woolery."

We heard many variations on this theme: "Can’t Work," "Can’t Watch," "Can’t Win."

"Initial resistance to changing a name is pretty common," says Chris Ender, senior VP of communications at CBS Corp. "What’s really going to attract viewers and advertisers is programming brands, like Everybody Hates Chris."Simon Williams, president of Sterling Brands, says the name is "true to what it is. It’s a blend, and blended brands tend to be vanilla."

By the same token, "there’s no negative," he added. "You can make The CW whatever you want it to be."

In that case, Flash! looks forward to watching The Christopher Walken network.