Boasts that MyNetwork TV would be profitable from the start ended as the first ratings reports rolled in last year. The prime time program service cobbled together by News Corp. has nowhere to go
but up in its second year, after bombing in its debut last fall with a risky strategy of airing two hours of low-budget telenovelas six nights a week.
Now, MyNet is adjusting to the
changes it made last spring when it replaced its low-rated nighttime serials with various nonscripted fare like "Celebrity Expose" and "Jail." National ratings are still pretty poor, at fewer than 1
million viewers for most show but neither News Corp. nor affiliates are ready to bail.
Says Mark Antonitis, general manager of San Francisco affiliate KRON, "we have never seriously considered dropping MyNetwork. Anybody who thought a new network would come out of the gate as a huge success is naive." It takes time, he adds, and "Fox is an organization that has a history of success, and it has the resources and the patience to be successful." Besides, most MyNet stations have few primet ime alternatives as changes in local TV have left "independent" broadcasters reliant on a relationship with a national network.