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February 28 2004

19 Affiliates Push Save ANGEL Sites The Tribune Broadcasting Company's Affiliates, urge fans to save Angel.

Raise your hand if you still have hope.
It's very difficult not to have hope with articles like this.
WB affiliates pushing fans to lobby to save Angel? Huh? Can anyone connected to showbiz interpret what this really means?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-02-28 23:01 ]
One of the affiliates (not KTLA, who seemed as if they couldn't care less) actually called before the party, and donated stuff to the auction last week. It was the Philadelphia affiliate. They wished us luck and seemed to be big fans.
Very interesting. Say, can someone like RavenU shed some light on this? He (uh, or she, dunno) always seems to have a good grasp and some higher-than-average knowledge on the entertainment industry.
Maybe the letter campaign is working to convince the affiliates that WB made a mistake? I have no idea what this means either.
if it does get another year, then i hope they can get everyone together from buffy and angel and make season 6 really great
How wonderful that the Philadelphia affiliate donated stuff to the Revue, Allyson.

Cheers to my affiliate (D.C.), which is one of the 19 WB affiliates urging for fans to lobby on behalf of Angel.

Yes, where is RavenU and her grasp of these entertainment industry businessy things? Surely she's not out enjoying her weekend?

(I'm assuming RavenU is a "her." If I'm wrong, I apologize.)

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-02-28 23:42 ]
The affiliates have as much to do with network decisions as cows have to do with motorcycles, IIRC.
Lol Allyson! I have to say, I actually agree with you on this one. :-)
I agree that cows don't have much to do with motorcycles (heh), but I do know that at least in terms of negative pressure, affiliates can sway network decisions. If enough affiliates get complaints from viewers about a certain program, for example, the affiliate can pressure the network to change the offending material. They are involved in a business relationship, after all, right?
So affliates buy the shows off the WB but are not part of the WB network? So are there stations that are part of the network?
Most of the stuff that I've read seems to suggest that Levin made the decision alone, so it doesn't surprise me that that not all at the WB or it's affiliates were happy. This is the best little bit of hope since we heard that UPN were being talked to.
RavenU has posted at length about affiliates before but because I'm not much of a business person, I didn't really absorb it. We need RavenU, darnit.
I'm prepared to still hope, but we seem to be crushed at every turn. I know nothing about affiliates, so would love some input from someone who does. My first thought was to agree with Allyson (wonders will never cease:-) but I am still clutching on to my glimmer of hope, futile though it probably is.
Well whaddya know... Chicago Tribune is one of the biggest endorsers... and I live 100 steps from that building!
Somebody posted the same article on the ASSB and there was an interesting response:

"I watch ATS via DISHTV by subscribing to WB superstations in NY and LA. When the news came out that ATS was being cancelled, I contacted DISH and the two superstations saying that I would be cancelling my subscription to those superstations once the show was done because it's the only thing I watch.

I was suprised to get responses from all 3! Not only are the superstations upset with WB - per the 19 Affiliates that Leoff mentions above - but DISH is apparently getting quite a bit of fuss from subscribers about it as well.

With the advent of first-run syndication, the world of television networks is changing. And our pennies do count a great deal more than they used to. If any of you watch ATS via DISH or another satillite company, I strongly recommend contacting them. The more the merrier!
These affliates are shareholders. I don't know much about the entertainment biz, but I know money, and that it talks(and bull poop walks :-)Wish that were true in Hollywood, alas. ) It seems like every voice out there-Fans, Critics, Shareholders-- are calling Angel's cancelation a mistake. Loudly. This is heartening. And if anyone from ever sees this, BLESS YOU. For fighting the good fight. It means a great deal. You're efforts are heroic, you are the real life champions, Darlin's.
Sometimes, I feel like the real issue is if Joss and CO. have the heart to go on, through all this, and after Firefly. If they have the energy to fight for another year or two of Angel, or are they willing to let it go and move on? But Firefly's gonna be a movie, and quite possibly a TV show again after that! If ME is tired of the Hollywood hustle, then I feel for them, and support them, whatever may come. But as far as narrative truth goes--Angel's story shouldn't be over quite yet.

[ edited by demonica on 2004-02-29 15:25 ]

[ edited by demonica on 2004-02-29 15:26 ]
I'm not 100% sure, but I believe it's this same group of affiliates that also posted links to us last year, when we were doing a postcard campaign to encourage Angel's 5th season renewal.
Ok - you know I do sleep on occasion :)

I love hearing this esppecially coming from the Tribune stations - for those who are not aware the Tribune corporation has the highest number of shows in first run syndication - and are very genre friendly - Andromeda and Mutant X being just 2 of the shows they have produced for syndication. I'll be back with more in a bit I just wanted to say how excited by this news I am - and to those neigh sayers out there - who want to write Angel off after only 2 weeks - well affiliates do have a strong voice and if anything they have the strongest voice of all for the networks - cause those affiliates have contracts and for the most part they can drop the WB in some areas and pick up UPN instead - so I think the WB will take heed if the affiliates join forces with the fans - I also think this will peak interest at UPN for the show.
Allyson - I'll have to differ with you on this once more - if anything the affilates can greatly impact what the network shows.

From the FCC regarding affiliate broadcasting of network progams - A broadcaster is expected to be aware of the problems and needs of the communities it serves, and to present programs that address these local issues. The station does not have to air everything that is made available to it by networks and other program suppliers.

All concerns and/or comments about a specific broadcast should be directed, in writing, to the local station and network involved, so that the people responsible for making the programming decisions can become better informed about audience opinion and reactions.

Affiliates are therefore not beholding to the networks - however the networks are beholding to the affiliates. For without the affiliate airing it's programs it will lose viewers and ultimately advertisers - if they lose the advertisers a network cannot stay in business. So affiliates can have a major impact on the bottom line of a network. That is why it is important to keep up the pressure locally - since the FCC makes the regulatons clear that the affilates responsiblity lies with the viewers in it's community. In the past other such shows (Alien Nation - being one that comes to mind was saved by affilate backing and fans) have been saved when the affilates stepped up to the plate and lent there voice to cause. Anyone knows Hollywood is run by money, and if the affilates take a stand they effect the bottom line. Not all are stockholders in the network but it makes there interest a bit more of a vested one and if Hollywood does not do one thing it is piss off it's stockholders. Tribune stockholdings in the WB only adds more weight to it's voice and with the recent changes in the WB upper management Levin would do good to pay heed to it or else he might be the next one ask to leave.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-02-29 04:34 ]
Thanks for the info, RavenU. Whether trying to save Angel at this point is futile or not, this is certainly an intriguing development. At least some of the suits have taste...

Viva Tribune Broadcasting Company, second-largest shareholder in the WB network!
It seems to be a clear case of stakeholder management...Managers are taought to first ask the question: Who are our stakeholders? Then what are the stakes? Followed by: What challenges or opportunities do these stakeholders present to our [the] firm?

In this case, we as viewers (primary social stakeholders) and local affiliates present a clear opportunity for the WB...
From the article:

This would also seem to indicate an appropriate target for fan campaigns: the Tribune Broadcasting Company's President, Patrick J. Mullen

I'm usually alright at getting these things, but I can't understand the whole afilliate thing any more than I can spell it. So my question: From what I understand from the article, the Tribune Broadcasting Company is actually supporting Angel. So why, exactly, would the president of Tribune Broadcasting Company be a good target for fan campaigns? Isn't he on our side already?

Sorry if it's a stupid question. Feel free to hit me with your stupid answers.
Not a stupid questiion VampireSucks - and I just hope my answer doesn't sound stupid either.

I think they may have meant it in a "Thank you for your support" type way as far as campaign targeting the preident of Tribune Broadcasting.

By sending the affilates thank you's as well as the president of the company we can also encourage them to continue their leadership and support to offer the same to other WB affiliates, since network affiliates do have a chain and talk with one another they can mention their support and encourage others to do the same.

Or at least that was my take on it.

Also since most of the other affiliates they own are FOX affiliates I would bet money they have stock in FOX as well and we could encoursge them to make FOX aware of their support for Angel would not hurt things either.
I think this sounds extremely promising. I believe that if enough of the major affiliates are upset about the cancellation of Angel that Levin might be forced to "change" his mind. To the affiliates the decision to cancel a show that has a loyal fan following with numbers that have improved drastically over the year before and is now the second highest rated program means lost viewers. They get it. They know how loyal viewers to one show will tune into another. Even the producers of Smallville have said their numbers have been better this year because obviously some Angel viewers are tuning in and watching Smallville first.

Keep those letters going to everyone whether or not you think it will make a difference because obviously the affiliates are very much aware at how upset the fans are and they don't want to lose us.

Whew! Typing out your (hilarious) name almost did me in. Anyway, I think probably the logic is that in sending the Tribune Broadcasting Co. more fan petitions/pleas/etc., it'd be fanning the flames of a movement that's already begun but could use a little more heat to keep it going and maybe spread it further. Then maybe the other affiliates will take notice. And the network. And so on.

Just my take on the logic. Anyone else?
I think this is the most promising thing that I have seen. Right now I get Angel by dish on WGN. They cover a pretty large area with just that one station. And that is not to mention the affliates. So maybe this may make the WB think things over. In some ways the audience for Angel may be small, however it is a group of people that the networks should think twice about offending.
I love the idea of affiliates fighting back!

Would it be silly to address these letters to Tribune on the grounds of having Angel become a first run syndication? If they see the potential in the show, if they are helping rally the fans, plus they already have claims to the existing highest (I'm assuming) rated first runs... would that mean that they could potentially pick up Angel on their own terms?
You know, I never thought about the affiliates having a choice in what they air, but it does make sense. I know a lot of the time Angel gets bumped on the east coast for sports. I guess because the affiliates assume there is a bigger market for whatever sports game is one than there is for Angel. It's good to know that some the affiliates are aware that Angel is a crowd pleaser.
I know of many incidents of local affilates trump network programming - just in last year St Louis NBC affiliate desided not to air an episode of American Dreams (I do not recall why)- thus prompting fans of show to write the creator - who was so outraged by the affiliates descission - his production company rented out a movie theatre to show the episode and sent a couple of the shows actors out there for an autograph signing. Then in Baltimore area Smallville and Angel have been pre-empted on more than one occassion for college basketball, and in the Cincinnati market the local FOX station pushed That 70's Show and American Idol to midnight in order to show a college basketball game ... and numerous times in the past years that same market on the NBC affiliate has preempted Friday night programming for religous programs such as Billy Graham syndicated appearances. Those are just a few examples, so you see the affiliates do have the ulimate control over what's viewed on thier station.
This sounds like terrific news to me!

Also, aren't there some key promotional events by the networks for their affiliate stations during the year? I remember reading how stars are trotted out for these events. Affiliates have to be sucked up to since they are the ones who make up the actual distribution network for the network. The WB and UPN are netlets because they don't have as many affiliates as CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, but that makes them more vulnerable to the demands of their affiliates.

Off to write to my affiliate which happens to be owned by Tribune! Already sent them an email earlier, but it can't hurt to remind them that lots of us are unhappy about Angel's cancellation.
Affilates are simply a co-op of stations either independently owned or corporately owned that have come together - to air similar programming in each marketed area of the country in order to save money. They simply pay a licencing fee to the network for the rights to air that networks progams in a particular market. They still however remain independant of the networks themselves - it's like a group of small businesses that get together to leverage their assets overall to obtain a service at a cost they can accept. Like the saying goes the more people to but the cheaper the product gets. Affiliates are very similar to franchises - except they retain total control over their market area.
whats even better is how big the Designated market areas these affiliates cover is.

10 of the top 12, including the top 5, and the smallest is 55th (out of 210), looky

Rank (DMAŽ)----------TVHouseholds----% of US
1 New York--------7,376,330-------6.804
2 Los Angeles-----5,402,260-------4.983
3 Chicago---------3,399,460-------3.136
4 Philadelphia----2,874,330-------2.651
6 Boston----------2,391,830-------2.206
7 Dallas----------2,255,970-------2.081
8 DC--------------2,224,070-------2.052
9 Atlanta---------2,035,060-------1.877
11 Houston---------1,848,770-------1.705
12 Seattle---------1,685,480-------1.555
17 S. Florida------1,510,740-------1.394
18 Denver----------1,399,100-------1.291
19 Sacramnto-------1,278,430-------1.179
21 St. Louis-------1,202,170-------1.109
24 Portland--------1,073,210-------0.990
25 Indianapolis----1,038,370-------0.958
26 San Diego-------1,029,210-------0.949
27 Hartford--------1,001,320-------0.924
42 New Orleans-----665,190---------0.614
47 Harrisburg------637,240---------0.588
55 Albany----------542,670---------0.501

thats 39.547% (out of 85.66% according to the futoncritic)
'Angel' gets a shot in the arm from the Tribune affiliates? That's unexpectedly heartening, and pretty cool! We really are making some people uncomfortable, it seems, or at least very acutely aware of our unhappiness with the situation.

My local affiliate is small and doesn't have a website, but they'll be hearing from me now that I finally hunted down their not-easy-to-find address (grrrr). Glad to see that making noise is having some affect, and might help push media awareness of niche viewership as well.

Fans lobbying so passionately for the survival of a creative franchise like 'Angel' should be making it clear to the smarter corporate types out there that there's a growing, more widespread resistence to endless reality crap and stale formula sitcoms than they might have realized. If networks want to stay in business and keep advertisers happy, it would behoove them to observe the incredible success and popularity of 'Lord of the Rings' before they start ditching all the fantasy/alternative entertainment choices they offer.

And on motorcycles and cows not having anything in common, obviously you haven't noticed the Harley-Davidson/black leather-everything connection. ;)
This brings up another good point targeting the corporations that own a chunk of WB affilates might not be such a bad idea - like the .... Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. which is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country today. Sinclair owns and operates, programs, or provides sales services to 62 television stations in 39 markets.

Sinclair's television group includes 19 WB affiliates and reaches approximately 24% of all U.S. television households.

I have to say it's heartening from how many corners people are angry about Angel's cancellation. Certainly from unexpected corners like this. I think all in all, whatever happens, this has been a fairly unique bit of TV history.
Thanks for clearing things up for me, guys. It's like the old saying goes, "You do not know who your real friends are until some bigshot decides to cancel one of the few remaining quality programs on network television and you need somebody to explain where, exactly, affiliates fit into the hierarchy of the programming world."

Okay, so maybe it's not an old saying yet, but give it a few years and it will be...old, at least.

And whatever becomes of this, it certainly feels good to know that somebody in a higher place than me (which, actually, describes just about anybody, but you know what I mean) is just as ticked off about the decision. It's nice to know that at least some of the Senior Partners are on our side after all.
Hey RavenU,

I just wanted to say thanks for all the effort and info. You've been saying target the affiliates all along. Good on you. You're the awesomest.
I live in a small PA town and my WB affiliate is out of DC. I'm so glad that they have stood up for us!!! And rock!
I have to echo stakeholder and Coll.....RavenU, thank you!
I went looking for affiliate info and found more than I ever *knew* I might want to know about the media outlets where I live in this Top 50 Market Profile article.

Thanks from me, too, RavenU. You've pulled a lot of stuff together for us TV-infrastructurally-challenged folks out here. :)

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