10 Years of MyNetworkTV

If you were to ask ten friends or family members if they’ve heard of MyNetworkTV, I’m willing to bet you’d get a lot of blank stares. And if you were somehow able to find ten people who know what MyNetworkTV is, odds are none of them have actually watched the network-turned-programming service. I know I’ve never tuned in.

Yet a decade after the 2006 United States broadcast TV realignment (that’s what Wikipedia calls it) MyNetworkTV is still around. It hasn’t aired original programming since October 2010 but is apparently successful as a programming service and will add repeats of three new shows later this month.

Is Anyone Watching?

Like The CW, MyNetworkTV only programs two hours of prime time Monday through Friday (8-10PM Eastern and Pacific). Its lineup consists entirely of repeats of drama programming. The current schedule includes of repeats of just five shows: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Walking Dead, The Closer, The Mentalist, and Bones.

As part of its 2016-2017 schedule, MyNetworkTV will add The X-Files, American Ninja Warrior, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a few weeks. That means dropping The Walking Dead, The Closer, and The Mentalist.

Nielsen hasn’t rated MyNetworkTV on a nightly basis since September 2009. That’s when it transitioned from traditional network to programming service. MyNetworkTV is apparently included in Nielsen’s weekly syndicated report. The most recent ratings information I can find is almost two years old.

The debut of The Walking Dead in October 2014 averaged a 0.5 rating in the adults 19-49 demographic for MyNetworkTV. There’s no way to know how that translates to total viewers. Perhaps around a million viewers are watching MyNetworkTV each weeknight. Maybe two million on a good day. Even a million viewers is better than how the network’s original programming slate fared, however.

Forgotten Telenovelas

When MyNetworkTV was first announced in February 2006, the new network planned to air telenovelas in 13-week cycles. There was also talk of reality programming. The debut telenovelas were Desire and Fashion House. Both aired Monday through Friday with a special recap special every Saturday.

Image of Bo Derek from MyNetworkTV's Fashion House

Bo Derek was one of the stars of Fashion House (Copyright © 2006 MyNetworkTV, Inc.)

The new network officially launched on Tuesday, September 5th, 2006 with the first episodes of Desire and Fashion House. The previous night, MyNetworkTV aired half-hour previews of those first two telenovelas from 8-9PM followed by an hour-long “MyNetworkTV Premiere Special” from 9-10PM. I don’t believe all affiliates aired the launch specials, however.

The preview specials (“Desire Revealed” and “Fashion House Revealed”) were also offered to affiliates to air in the week(s) leading up to the official launch. I suppose that technically makes them the very first MyNetworkTV programs.

Title card to Fashion House Revealed

Fashion House Revealed was one of the first MyNetworkTV programs, predating the official launch of the network (Copyright © 2006 MyNetworkTV, Inc.)

Early ratings for Desire and Fashion House were dismal. Another pair of telenovelas (Watch Over Me and Wicked Wicked Games) debuted in December 2006 but fared no better. Things were so bad that MyNetworkTV abruptly changed its entire schedule in March 2007. The next two telenovelas (American Heiress and Saints & Sinners) aired only aired once a week. Initially, each aired on a different night in two-hour blocks. Later, a single episode of each aired back-to-back on the same night. In an attempt to attract viewers, MyNetworkTV added a mixture of reality programming, movies, and WWE SmackDown.

American Heiress and Saints & Sinners were abruptly pulled in July 2007, leaving nearly 40 episodes left unaired. The network’s great telenovela experiment was over.

Will MyNetworkTV Survive Another Decade?

In February 2009, MyNetworkTV threw in the towel and gave up on original programming entirely, with the exception of WWE SmackDown. It became a programming service like Ion Television. In the process, it returned Saturday nights to affiliates.

WWE SmackDown moved to Sci Fi in October 2010. Since then, MyNetworkTV has relied solely on repeats of network or cable originals and some syndicated programming. It may not thrive as a programming service, but it performs better than it did as a network.

Will MyNetworkTV still exist in another ten years? If so, will anyone remember Desire, Fashion House, American Heiress, or any of its other telenovelas? If not, what will become of its 170+ affiliates?


11 Comments

  • charles perry says:

    Several quick notes about MyNet [as TV Guide identifies it]. First, it debuted 2 weeks before the UPN/ WB merger which meant that many UPN affilates jumped ship early. Secondly, USA Today never counted MyNet as a real network, substituting Univision in its place. Third, WWE Smackdown ran on the CW for 2 years before going over to MyNet, Finally. if you’re curious about Fashion House the entire series including the recaps are available on Hulu.

  • Tim Warneking says:

    MNT in my area is a combined MNT/MeTV affiliate and is a subchannel for both NBC and CBS affiliates. On weekdays MNT runs in primetime from 7-9pm CT. Local news follows at 9, with syndicated and local programming continuing until roughly midnight. After midnight MeTV programming resumes.

  • Joseph says:

    Here in Boston, My Network TV affiliate WSBK has begun (as of August 29th) running the network/programming service’s schedule on a one-hour delay (Monday through Friday, 9-11 P.M. Eastern time), and moving it’s local newscast (produced by sister station WBZ) to 8 P.M.

  • Terrence says:

    I think MyNet will be around as long as the programming they acquire is worthy of viewership. They have a good thing going right now. I don’t think the CW will make it if they veer any further into the superhero channel. At that point, they may as well go the way of MyNet and ION.

  • Patrick McNamara says:

    You left out one of the most important points. MyNetworkTV was created by FOX to prevent CW from getting hold of some of the former UPN (and I think WB) stations. It would have given FOX too much competition.

  • Nope nope says:

    Really? No more walking dead thats the only reason i watched this stupid channel

  • Wendy Cease says:

    So disappointed they are dropping the Walking Dead..I don’t know if they lost the syndication deal or opted out, but we were anxiously awaiting the next season, as we don’t subscribe to cable. How do they think the old X-Files episodes are going to do.. and American Ninja Warriors?? Please!! I refuse to feed the cable machine, so I guess I will have to rent season 6 of the Walking Dead the old fashioned way..

  • Mary and Thomas vaillancourt says:

    So disappointed they took off the walking dead was waiting patiently to see season 6 and now were not so done watching this channel it was the only show worth watching

  • Edna Weyer says:

    I was really hoping the walking dead would be brought back. It’s the only night I watched on this channel via my local fox network. Don’t have cable so this was my fix. Please please reconsider and bring back my show. Bones has run it’s course and we already get stuck with it all weekend so I am begging you bring back THE WALKING DEAD!!!

  • serena jones says:

    Can you PLEASE bring the walking dead back to this channel?

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