Happy 19th Birthday, The WB and UPN

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the debut of The WB television network while UPN will celebrate its 19th birthday next Thursday (January 16th). It is not a milestone I expect many people will be aware of. Perhaps next year, when the networks hit their 20th anniversaries, there will be some media attention. Both networks have been defunct since 2006, when they shut down and merged to form The CW (with leftover affiliates from both networks forming MyNetworkTV).

During their 11 years and eight months on the air, the two minor networks collectively contributed dozens of obscurities to the annals of television. You can find lists of The WB’s programs here and a list of UPN’s programs here. How many do you remember?

The WB and UPN are also becoming increasingly obscure in their own right as networks. As the years go by the two will fade from the collective memory, although certainly many popular and long-running programs from both networks will live on. I was talking to someone just last week who had never heard of MyNetworkTV and was only vaguely aware that The CW was a merger of The WB and UPN.

Supernatural, which premiered on The WB in 2005 and is currently in its ninth season on The CW, is the only scripted show from either of the networks still on the air. UPN’s reality series America’s Top Model is also still airing on The CW. I would guess both will be off the air within a few years, formerly ending any connection to The WB and UPN.

Here’s a look at the premiere programming for both networks:

The WB’s Premiere Programming

Wednesday, January 11th, 1995
8:00PM The Wayons Brothers
8:30PM Unhappily Ever After
9:00PM Muscle (Special 1 Hour Premiere)

Wednesday, January 18th, 1995
8:00PM The Wayons Brothers
8:30PM The Parent ‘Hood
9:00PM Unhappily Ever After
9:30PM Muscle

UPN’s Premiere Programming

Monday, January 16th, 1995
8:00PM Star Trek: Voyager (Special 2 Hour Premiere)

Tuesday, January 17th, 1995
8:00PM Marker
9:00PM The Watcher

Saturday, January 21st, 1995
12:00PM UPN Movie Trailer*

Monday, January 23rd, 1995
8:00PM Star Trek: Voyager
9:00PM Platypus Man
9:30PM Pig Sty

*2-hour afternoon movie block

For the record, the first movie to be shown as part of UPN Movie Trailer was Call to Glory, the pilot telefilm to ABC’s drama series Call to Glory, originally aired in August 1984. That series was produced by Paramount Television, making it a perfect fit for UPN.

The WB would add a second night of programming on Sundays in September 1995. UPN expanded to three nights in March 1996, adding Wednesday.

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