Not every idea Roger Ailes has pans out. MyNetworkTV, the all-telenovela network he conceived to take advantage of the vacuum created by the 2006 merger of UPN and The WB, long ago lost its novelas. And now it's not even a network anymore. The company has slashed a night of programming, added a big chunk of network reruns to its slate, and officially abandoned the designation "network." It's now a "program service" -- essentially, a show syndicator.
The original idea of MyNetworkTV was to keep programming cheap,remaking novelas that had aired elsewhere in the world at perhaps 10 percent of what the big networks spend for their shows. But even after the first generation of novelasflopped and MyNetworkTV doubled its budget for original scripts and known American stars like Tatum O'Neal, the viewers failed to materialize. Replacing the novelas with cheapjack reality shows and trash sports didn't work, either. In the end, about the only thing left standing was pro wrestling. Not surprisingly, WWE Smackdown will remain on the air even as the network behind fades into memory.