Welcome to the Butt Monkey
of American network television.
MyNetworkTV is a quick-fix "network" created by Fox
in 2006 to fill soon-to-be emptied primetime slots on their TV stations that were affiliated with UPN
. As UPN and The WB
were merging to form The CW
, it transpired that many UPN-affiliated stations owned by Fox would not get the chance to become affiliated with the new network (though only in locations with WB stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting, which had first dibs under the terms of the mergernote
; had Fox cooperated, some of their other stations could've easily ended up top-choice CW affiliates). In response, Fox decided to make their own network
out of all
of their UPN-affiliated stations, and furthermore petulantly
shunned all mentions and advertising of UPN on those stations until the network's September 2006 demise. Most of the various WB and UPN affiliates that were left behind by the merger also signed-on with MyNetworkTV.
MNTV started off pretending to be a legit network (some stations even changed their callsigns to reflect their new affiliation), airing English-language versions
of popular Latin American telenovelas five nights a week
. Try as they might, nothing could get people to watch these shows — most American viewers saw them as trashy and poorly-made even by the low standards of American Soap Operas
and worth watching only as Snark Bait
, while English-speaking Latino viewers (the target audience for many of these shows) saw them as inferior versions of what they were already watching en español
. In short, everyone thought it sucked
. The only markets where the network was barely competitive were Los Angeles
, but those viewers quickly went away. Only one program, the World Music Awards (which previously set negative ratings records for ABC and Fox), remained from the network's original schedule, though the music industry's own woes have caused that show to not take place for the last few years; when it did take place again in 2014, the show had major technical and behind-the-scenes difficulties which resulted in NBC not receiving the finished product).
After a year, the telenovela
block faded into the mists along with anything resembling a point. It should be noted that there were also early promises to program imported or adapted programming from Sky in the UK and Fox News
to air alongside the telenovelas, but those were thrown aside in favor of the latter. Programming like IFL Battleground
(a failed attempt to turn Mixed Martial Arts
into a team sport that eventually got eaten up by UFC), the Ujena Bikini Jam, Hooters pageants
, the Taurus World Stunt Awards, and Santa's Funniest Moments
filled the void that was left by the telenovelas. Thanks to them and the Fox Reality channel, the nation also suffered through a second run of Paradise Hotel
The network kept limping along, however. Its only major grab was WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
, the rest of its lineup consisting of reality shows
, stage magic (new episodes of Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed
were among the network's better shows), and Under One Roof
(a short-lived sitcom
starring Flavor Flav
, which was shot in Toronto while the 2008 writer's strike
went on, so it was unaffected). In September 2009, MyNetworkTV officially stopped pretending and became a two-hour syndicated
programming block, similar in concept to the short-lived PTEN
. It discontinued all original non-syndicated programming that wasn't SmackDown!
and replaced it with syndicated game shows
, Thursday-night movies, and reruns of The Unit
and Law & Order: Criminal Intent
. One of its original shows, Jail
, got picked up by Spike TV
In October 2010, SmackDown!
moved to Syfy
and MNTV became the Old Shame
of Fox and the network's affiliates, airing repeats of game shows already in syndication (usually in very low-rated timeslots) and other dramas such as Burn Notice
, and Without a Trace
, which act as filler
for independent stations scared of programming primetime. In 2011, even those pseudo-original game shows were ousted due to them not doing well at all in syndication, with Cold Case
and Law & Order: SVU
rerun nights being added to fill out all five nights.
Many of the network's higher-rated stations (that aren't owned by Fox itself, that is; those stations get a living Mascot
in the shape of the network logo named C. More TV
) have begun to shun MNTV and drop all mentions of it, airing the programming in post-Midnight death slots
and instead carrying local programming (such as high school and major-league sports) and news in primetime, as they feel comfortable enough to compete without Fox's lack of help to themnote
. However, most of the smaller markets do appreciate MNTV for what it is: a service offering reruns that attract a constant audience who are quite happy to tune in, and especially in the months where The CW is in rerun hell, can beat that network. It helps keeps the stations' lights on in primetime, because the other option's going back to airing movies, which may have worked in the 1990s when Netflix
and Redbox and subchannel movie networks like This TV, Movies!, and Get TV
didn't exist, is now a textbook example of lazy programming. The network is expected continue at least until the 2015-16 season.
The network may still have a bit of life in it though; the rerun rights for AMC
's The Walking Dead
were bought by the network beginning in the 2014-15 season, a move that was lauded as one of the network's smartest decisions. It's Edited for Syndication
, but that might be a good thing depending on how you feel about gore. Not shockingly, its first night airing the show gave the network its best ratings for an evening since the last night Smackdown
During Cablevision and Dish Network's 2010 disputes over carriage of Fox, most of the pushes were pretty much mentioning everything but the kitchen sink for Fox, FX, and their sports networks, while not one contribution of MNTV was mentioned beyond that it exists (besides lack of research from writers who thought SmackDown!
was still on it). This probably earned them a Stealth Insult
when Cablevision announced they put the channels back on, by saying MyNetworkTV was a channel of "little or no interest" to viewers. A dispute with Time Warner Cable in 2013 involving some Journal Broadcasting stations that were MNTV affiliates had that provider happy to point out that all the network's shows were also on USA Network
, Ion Television
The network also has the indignity of being mostly on digital subchannels of big network affiliates in markets as large as Columbus, Ohio (where it's on a subchannel of ABC
, meaning that it often gets left out of TV listings, won't be in HD in many markets, and isn't rated by Nielsen on a regular basis because of its all-repeat schedule, and may not even be carried by a provider because of lack of any good surrounding programming. In some markets where the other stations have bought off all the good programming, or there's no other stations to carry it, it airs on the same channel as lesser networks such as This TV, Antenna TV, RTV, and MeTV
, meaning the only thing leading into primetime is either an ancient sitcom rerun or a old movie, thus assuring very low ratings. It can even air out of primetime, with some lesser Fox affiliates in smaller markets and independent stations using is as an alternative to program their late night schedule rather than having to buy sitcoms off syndication; in some cases it's the only place it can air due to lack of stations in a market.