Fox News Lends Hand to New Net

Fox News Channel will help to program parent company News Corp.’s newly created broadcast entry, My Network TV.

The cable-news leader will develop an original series for the network dubbed On Scene, an investigative series that will take a behind-the-scenes look at the day’s most compelling crimes.

News Corp.’s My Network TV, slated to bow Sept. 5, will primarily center on two English-language telenovelas as primetime programming.

Out of the gate, My Network TV will be anchored by nine News Corp.-owned stations, currently affiliated with UPN, plus an independent. News Corp.’s stations were left in the lurch last month when CBS Corp. and Warner Bros. announced that they were merging UPN and The WB Television Network to form The CW, which will feature returning shows from both broadcast networks.

The Fox Television Stations- and Twentieth Television-operated network will premiere the two sexually charged telenovelas, Desire and Secrets, in a six-day stripped-programming format that’s usually reserved for daytime or late-night.

Reality programming currently in development for the network includes Catwalk, a reality competition series that will search for the next supermodel; CelebrityLoveIsland, in which six singles are intermingled on an island with six celebrities; and America’s Brainiest, a British TV remake that will search for the smartest people in the country.

News Corp. president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin said the stripped format, which has been very successful internationally, will help the network to turn a profit almost immediately by eliminating overhead and production costs.

Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy predicted that the My Network TV format will generate higher ratings than UPN.

He added that he expects the network to reach 90% of the broadcast universe. Unlike The CW, News will not charge stations for My Network TV’s programming.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.