|Type||Defunct broadcast television network|
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
|Picture format||480i (NTSC)|
|Owner||Warner Bros. Domestic Television|
|Launched||January 20, 1993|
|Closed||October 27, 1997|
The Prime Time Entertainment Network (PTEN) was an American television network that was operated by the Prime Time Consortium, a joint venture between the Warner Bros. Domestic Television subsidiary of Time Warner and Chris-Craft Industries. First launched on January 20, 1993, and operating until 1997, the network mainly aired drama programs aimed at adults between the ages of 18 and 54. At its peak, PTEN's programming was carried on 177 television stations, covering 93% of the country.
At the time of PTEN's founding, co-owner Chris-Craft Industries owned independent television stations in several large and mid-sized U.S. cities (among them its two largest stations, WWOR-TV in New York City and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles) through its BHC Communications and United Television divisions, which formed the nuclei of the network.
PTEN was launched as a potential fifth television network, and was created in reaction to the success of the Fox network (which debuted in October 1986, seven years before PTEN launched) as well as the successes of first-run syndicated programming during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It offered packaged nights of programming to participating television stations, beginning with a two-hour block on Wednesday evenings, with a second block (originally airing on Saturday, before moving to Monday for the 1994-95 season) being added in September 1993. Originally, the station groups involved in the Prime Time Consortium helped finance PTEN's programs; however, that deal was restructured at the beginning of the network's second year.
The service sought affiliations with various television stations not affiliated with the Big Three television networks. However, close to half of PTEN's initial affiliates were stations that were already affiliated with Fox; as a result, these stations usually scheduled PTEN programming around Fox's then five-night prime time schedule (although Fox would expand its schedule to seven nights with the addition of programming on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on January 19, 1993, the day before PTEN launched). PTEN launched on January 20, 1993, with two series: the science fiction series Time Trax and the action drama Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
PTEN faced two obstacles created by its parent companies which would affect the network. On November 2, 1993, the Warner Bros. Entertainment division of Time Warner announced that it would form its own fifth network, The WB, as a joint venture with the Tribune Company, Six days earlier, on October 27, Chris-Craft Industries announced the launch of the United Paramount Network (UPN), in a programming partnership with Paramount Television division of Viacom (which would become part-owner of the network in 1996). As a result, the core Chris-Craft independent stations (as well as those owned by Paramount) would serve as charter stations of the new network; Chris-Craft also chose to pull out of the partnership to focus on operating UPN.
The network also faced issues from some PTEN-affiliated stations that took issue with the network's barter split, which gave nine minutes of advertising time per hour to the syndicator, leaving only five minutes for the stations to sell and program locally. PTEN also ran into difficulty when the studio was forced to let stations out of their back-end commitments for several series. PTEN adopted a variable schedule for the 1995-1996 season, for affiliates to schedule around The WB and UPN's programming on the night of their choosing. With Chris-Craft pulling out of the venture, PTEN essentially became a syndication service for its remaining shows, before ceasing operations altogether in 1997. One of the two series that aired during the service's final year of operation, the science fiction drama Babylon 5, would later be revived by TNT, where it aired for a fifth and final season beginning in 1998.
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel|
|Baton Rouge, LA||WGMB||44|
|Cape Coral, FL||WFTX||36|
|Cape Girardeau, MO||KBSI||23|
|Cedar Rapids, IA||KOCR||28|
|Colorado Springs, CO||KXRM-TV||21|
|Corpus Christi, TX||K47DF||47|
|Fort Worth–Dallas, TX||KTXA||21|
|Gary, IN–Chicago, IL||WPWR-TV||50|
|Green Bay–Appleton, WI||WGBA||26|
|Green Bay–Appleton, WI||WACY||32|
|Greensboro–High Point–Winston-Salem, NC||WGGT[C]||48|
|Kirksville, MO–Ottumwa, IA||KTVO||3|
|Providence, RI–New Bedford, MA||WNAC-TV||64|
|Salt Lake City||KJZZ-TV||14|
|San Antonio, TX||KRRT||35|
|San Francisco–Oakland–San Jose, CA||KBHK-TV||44|
|Santa Fe, NM||KASA-TV||2|
|Santa Maria, CA||KCOY-TV||12|
|Secaucus, NJ–New York, NY||WWOR-TV||9|
|St. Louis, MO||KPLR-TV||11|
|St. Petersburg–Tampa, FL||WTOG||44|
|Thief River Falls, MN||KBRR[L]||10|
|Tijuana–San Diego, CA||XETV||6|
|Wichita Falls, TX||KJTL||18|