In the mid-1990s, two major Hollywood studios, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures, each launched their own broadcast television network with the hope of becoming the fifth major player in an industry long dominated by ABC, CBS, NBC, and, more recently, Fox. Despite the odds against them, the WB and UPN went on to alter the landscape of primetime television, only to then merge as the CW network in 2006—each a casualty of conflicting personalities, relentless competition, and a basic failure to anticipate the future of the entertainment business. Unfolding amid this backdrop of high-stakes business ventures, fanatical creative struggles, and corporate power plays, Season Finale traces the parallel stories of the WB and UPN from their prosperous beginnings to their precipitous demise. Following the big money, big egos, and big risks of network television, Susanne Daniels, a television executive with the WB for most of its life, and Cynthia Littleton, a longtime television reporter for Variety , expose the difficult reality of trying to launch not one but two traditional broadcast networks at the moment when cable television and the Internet were ending the dominance of network television. Through in-depth reportage and firsthand accounts, Daniels and Littleton expertly re-create the creative and business climate that gave birth to the WB and UPN, illustrating how the race to find suitable programming spawned a heated rivalry between the two but also created shows that became icons of American youth culture. Offering insider stories and never-before-published details about shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer , Dawson's Creek , 7th Heaven , Gilmore Girls , Smallville , Felicity , Girlfriends , Everybody Hates Chris , and America's Next Top Model , Daniels and Littleton provide an exhaustive account of the two creative teams that ushered these groundbreaking programs into the hearts, minds, and living rooms of Americans across the country. But in spite o
the book's WB bias is understandable given that its coauthor was president of entertainment for the network
By B. A Varkentine - December 8, 2007
Still, it left me skeptical. This book purports to be an expose of both "netlets," but it's really more a valentine to one. How much you like it will depend a lot upon your stomach for network politics.
I can see a lot of television executives, or would-be examples of the same, finding it valuable. But as someone who's just a fan of good television drama and comedy, I found it a quick yet staid read.
It's worth a skim, especially for those with a keen interest in the whys and wherefores of deals and deal breakers like the severing of Buffy from the WB.
Still, you'll get better entertainment from an episode of your favorite UPN or WB series.
Now I Understand Why These Networks Suddenly Appeared
By Greg Franklin - May 3, 2013
I am a casual TV viewer and did not understand why the WB and UPD networks suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
I see that the FCC rules on the major networks being able to own the prime time schedule changed and the production studios got nervous and feared a loss of business of producing shows for CBS, NBC and ABC, so why not have your own network and create an outlet for the studios output.
I got a little bored with some of the stories about many executives as that did not interest me, but the main takeaway for me was that the WB was getting a lot of its successful programming from other studios ( Spelling, Fox, Disney) thus defeating the primary purpose for creating the networks.
Overall, it helped me understand the way the TV sausage is made.
A Great Read!
By ttrocc7007 "ttrocc7007" - October 30, 2007
Though I usually don't enjoy books about TV shows I don't watch, I was quite pleasantly surprised in reading Season Finale. The authors strike just the right balance between 'breezy' and 'hard facts' to make this a fascinating and fun read. The story of UPN's launch party in New York alone is worth the time! Highly recommended!
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