ETB's World of Ideas: Entertainment

Major geographical error on common gag in many cartoons
Rooting for the Bad Guys
Cartoon Network playing live action; Boomerang playing new shows
Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies
Battle of the GHOSTBUSTERS! ("Real" vs "Original")
Tad Ghostal goes Postal!
NY/LA: Mirror TV markets?; Ch. 1

Major geographical error on common gag in many cartoons

When does one root for the good guys or the bad guys?

Cartoon Network playing live action? Boomerang playing new shows? What's going on?

The Entire Looney Tunes Library in one pot now? The quest for the ultimate Bugs Bunny Show

Battle of the GHOSTBUSTERS!

Tad Ghostal Gone Postal:

Other media company switch: create "mirror image channel markets": NY-LA

Growing up watching TV, and realizing most of it is from Hollywood, California (the LA area); and also seeing that TV channels were different in different cities (like Springfield, MA or the Connecticut channels that were printed in hollow channel bullets in NYC TV guides), I realized that our three network stations were "flagships", whose call letters were the actual three letter network initials themselves. WABC, WNBC, WCBS. Other places had the three networks of course, but the call letters were anonymous, basically, and you could not tell the network by them. (the channels were also different, even if it was a market that had the same channel assignments as New York. They alternate, as to avoid conflicts, so Connecticut/Rhode Island, and Philadelphia will have 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12, but Boston and Baltimore/Washington will have 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 like NY).

I also begin seeing that while all of our call letters began with "W", out west, they began with "K". (From seeing news footage on one of the stations, from its "sister station" out there, showing its call letters. The dividing line between W and K territory is basically the Mississippi River, with some exceptions on both sides). So I suspected there would also be a set of "K" flagships for the three networks, and the most likely place would be "Hollywood" or the LA market. So I asked our block's resident "celebrity", a member of the Persuasions doo-wop group, who of course had been all around the country; what LA's TV was like. He said it had the same channels as NY, and the networks even matched. (2)-CBS; (4)-NBC, and (7)-ABC. I soon have another acquaintance who was visiting both Compton and Oakland, to bring me back TV Guides from those two markets (LA and San Francisco). While now, the call letters of the "big three" network flagships were the same; only differentiated by W or K as the first letter . In 1980, when I got the TV Guides, the CBS for some reason was different: KNXT instead of KCBS. The latter was a radio station elsewhere. This was "corrected" a few years later (like by the time I finally got to Cali myself). But it's PBS, and the predecessors of today's so-called "little three" networks that were all mixed up. In New York, it was (5)-DuMont->Metromedia->FOX, (9)-RKO->->UPN-> My Network; (11)-Tribune/INN/OPT->WB->CW. DuMont was once a "big" fourth network, but then fell out of the race, kept its own flagship stations in the big markets, but became mostly a loose independent service rather than a network, and then changed its name to Metromedia, which is what I grew up with. Metromedia's signature program was the Merv Griffin Show along with Wonderama. Nearly three decades later, the Metromedia core of stations was then changed back into a network, and called FOX, and has now ironically grown back into a fourth "big" network; coming full circle! The second "loose syndicated" "network" comprised the Tribune owned stations, with WGN in Chicago as the flagship. Sister station WPIX here in NY would also launch an "Independent Network News" for national distribution, and there would also be an "Operation Prime Time" syndication package, which would include the popular music show Solid Gold, and some made for TV movies, such as Yogi's First Christmas, and the Pam Dawber film "the Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything", mentioned in the discussion below on time travel. These stations later became the basis of the WB Network, which more recently was partially bought by CBS and changed into "the CW".

But back in the "independent" days of these stations, in other cities that were big enough to have independent stations, you would often see one station that had programming similar to NY's channel 5, and another, that had programming similar to 11. (though not always perfectly followed, of course). Probably using the same syndication packages, they were already like "little networks"! RKO was the next "proto-network" after Metromedia and Tribune. It only had its two flagship independent stations in NY and LA. The rest of the stations it owned were "big" network affiliates. If there was a third independent station in another city, it would often be in some respects similar to our 9 (WOR). 9 was a channel I almost never watched, as it for some reason had no cartoons in the 70's, until the late 80's. (It once had them in the 60's, though, though I don't remember that). It instead had its old movies and drama shows, Romper Room, the only kids programming, the Joe Franklin show late night, Knicks, Nets, Islanders, Rangers and Mets games, and then, who could forget, the strictly adult Benny Hill! Rerun network sitcoms were later added, like 5 and 11 had. Other cities with three independents would also have this other station that, while not owned by RKO, still had no cartoons, and showed mostly old movies and shows, and such. Or, sometimes it would be a religious station. So that was sort of like a third "independent network". (Sometimes a third station would be more like the other two. 38-WSBK in Boston was an example, with 56 Tribune-like, and 25 Metromedia-like. These stations did in fact become, respectively, UPN, WB/CW and FOX; though when UPN was replaced by MYN, 38 turned it down and went back to independant, while a newer station; New Hampsire-based ch.50 picked up MYN. Some places like Dallas even had a fourth major independant!)
Lastly, there was PBS, which was a full fledged national "network", but was public TV, and educational, so not usually classified with the other three.

So while 9 in LA was the RKO outfit (KHJ), matching NY, 5 and 11 were reversed, and with an additional twist: 11 (KTTV) was Metromedia, and "Tribune" seemed to be split among both 5 (KTLA) and 13 (KCOP). The main PBS was on 28. I forget which shows were on which, but in the 1980 TV guide, I remember 5 as having no cartoons (in addition to 9), but it did have OPT. (In fact, OPT was by Paramount Television, who owned the station. Even though I include this syndicated package as part of a precursor to WB, it quite technically was more of a predecessor to UPN! Paramount was trying to create a network back then anchored by a new Star Trek series (like the later UPN) which was replaced by the movie, and this probably would have ended up on the Tribune stations such as WPIX; instead of on 9). Paramount had once had a small network decades earlier, also loosely involved with NY's ch5).
13 had INN, but it moved to 5 when it was purchased by Tribune in 1985. So the ch11-like cartoons were also on 13. Then, entering the "little network" age, it gets worse. 11 becomes FOX, of course, and 5 becomes WB. After the breakup of RKO, the 9's in both markets went separate ways, changing hands several times. In NY, it was bought by Chris Craft, and became the sixth network, UPN. But in LA, Chris Craft had all along owned 13, which then became UPN! 9 eventually ends up with CBS and becomes a second CBS station of sorts. When CBS acquired UPN through its merger with Viacom, people wondered if its owned & operated 9 might be converted to UPN, but they wanted to keep their own program format on it.
Of course, CBS eventually decides to merge UPN with WB and change it into CW. Meanwhile, Chris Craft had been bought out by FOX, who would then create a second network, "MY-N", for its new stations. Funny how in this age of relaxed FCC regulations, while a big established network would obviously have the clout to expand to a second network, FOX, which started out as a new little network, would quickly rise up and be right next to CBS in owning a second network! Channel 9 here in NY had basically lost all of its own identity. For a time, its network was owned by channel 2, while the station itself was owned by channel 5. Now, it is entirely FOX O&O, like 5!
BTW, the grabbing of the NFC games from CBS, was the singular event that propelled FOX to the status of being a big network. You don't really hear this pointed out anywhere; but I clearly saw the connection. This caused a chain reaction, as CBS suffered, then stations dropped it for FOX, with some markets like Atlanta having CBS end up on UHF! But CBS manages to wrest the AFC games from NBC, and now NBC suffered. Why WB and UPN when independently owned by the powerful Time Warner and Viacom empires before the mergers didn't try to follow suit by grabbing NFL games (such as Monday Night Football, which recently moved from ABC), I don't know. Now, they'll NEVER get NFL and other programs that make a big network, as their parent networks will keep all that stuff for themselves.

So I always wished they would swap those channels, and it would create a "flagship" image: CBS2, NBC4, FOX5, ABC7, MY9, CW11, and PBS13. (I also wish someone would buy MYN from FOX, and CBS' shares in CW, and the two networks continue to grow). I say change the LA market to be like NY, because while most of the production may be in LA, NY is where the broadcast system is generally structured from. Like the headquarters of the big three have always been here, and our channels always stayed the same (Another point, KTTV, was originally the CBS station, while DuMont was on 2! They switched in 1951). Besides, "FOX5 (foxfive)" has a nicer "corporate" ring to it than "FOX11 (foxeleven)". I guess that is not important enough for them. Just funny now CBS, NBC and ABC thought it worthwhile to have the same channels in both leading markets. (ABC's circle "7" logo is identical in NY, LA and Chicago, and the "CBS2" logo's are similar). To me, it would just make an interesting symmetry. This page: says that KTLA-5 could have become DuMont, and Wikipedia says it actually carried its programming 1947–48! The old Paramount Television Network owned KTLA and had stock in some DuMont stations like in NY. KTLA was even considered a DuMont O&O by the FCC! It truly would have been a sister station to WNYW-5, formerly WNEW. Both were similar in carrying the WB cartoons syndication packages decades ago).

Also, PBS not using it's own initials in its call letters in the two markets. In NY, it's WNET ("NET" was the previous network initials, National Educational Television), and in LA, KCET (California Educational TV). WPBS is way upstate in Watertown, NY, and KPBS in in San Diego. These are both "border-town" markets, and from what I read, that is so people picking up the signal from across the border can see those stations as "representative" of PBS.
Now in the San Francisco TV Guide, KPIX, which sounds like it might be WPIX's west coast counterpart, I find is channel 5, and the CBS station! (Now O&O)
The only western "CW11" is KSTW, Seattle. It had long been independent, but then became CBS after the NFL shuffle, and then became CBS-owned and eventually UPN. However, in the WB-UPN merger, it was one of the stations CBS decided to convert to CW (where it was usually the WB affiliate that adopted the new network). KNTV-11 in San Jose, after being a supplementary ABC afiliate, also seemed to be on the road to becoming WB at one point (airing the kids block "Kids WB"), but when NBC station KRON-4 was dropped by the network, it picked up 11 and eventually bought it.

Cognitive Confessions:

Why do I care about this? What difference does it make?:

Another TV anomaly I found interesting was Whatever happened to Channel 1? Believe it or not, there once was one, and the station that became Channel 4 (WNBC) here was originally on it! Springfield, MA was the next market going in that direction to have one. (The market is so small, it doesn't have any other VHF stations!) Here is an article on K/W Call Letters.

A Truly 3-D Pac-Man:

see also
Super Mario
Filmation, the much maligned staple of Saturday Morning TV
TONTO: Unique musical production style
Rap: Where Did We Go Wrong?

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