Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Paramount Television Network

Believe it or not, but UPN, the United Paramount Network, that premiered in 1995 was actually the third time Paramount Pictures attempted to start up a television network. The very first attempt was the Paramount Television Network, which started life in 1948. 

Using the extremely popular KTLA as a flagship station, Paramount planned to produce programming in Hollywood and distribute it out to its affiliates throughout the country. (At the time, most networks produced their television programming in New York.) Paramount hoped to capitalize on its film library to make an attractive package for its various affiliate stations. 

Anti-trust lawsuits, legal problems with the DuMont Network and a poor slate of affiliates doomed the effort, however, and Paramount gave up its network dreams in 1956. Its biggest hit, The Lawrence Welk Show, moved on to ABC and the shortlived network became mostly forgotten. Ironically, Paramount's theater chain, spunoff as part of its anti-trust settlement, would eventually become the business entity that formed ABC.