Still no 'Gilmore,' 'Smallville' or 'One Tree Hill'
THIS Friday will mark one month since the CW, the merged network combining the WB and UPN, debuted its fall season -- not that "Gilmore Girls," "Smallville," or "One Tree Hill," or any of the upstart network's other shows have aired on Hawaii television sets.
It still does not have a Hawaii affiliate.
Oceanic Time Warner Cable wants the affiliation, according to Mitzi Lehano, vice president of programming and creative services. However, its corporate offices have been in negotiations for months, with no resolution or announcement.
Fans have been able to read synopses of new episodes and chat with actual viewers on the CW Web site. They also can watch short video clips of previews and directors' cuts of show snippets, but not full episodes.
ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC make full episodes available on the Web, for free.
"We are exploring that possibility," said Paul McGuire, executive vice president of communications for the CW.
Online streaming could bring instant relief to Hawaii's would-be CW viewers, who have told the Star-Bulletin that family members on the mainland are recording and sending episodes to them via mail.
The season opener of "Gilmore Girls," and perhaps other shows, have been posted in chunks on YouTube and other Web sites.
The CW's company line all along has been that it is, "working hard to secure an affiliate in Hawaii," according to McGuire. He is aware of ardent fandom in the islands, adding, "we have heard directly from many of the passionate fans in Hawaii and greatly appreciate their support."
One Hawaii fan created an online message board as a gathering place for shared sorrows. There is also an online petition.
Early this month, industry publications such as Broadcasting & Cable magazine and the TV Business Confidential newsletter reported that Time Warner Cable was demanding payments from several affiliates of the CW, a network it partly owns.
The call for payment was seen as an attempt to "reverse the debate over so-called retransmission consent, which is one of the most divisive issues in the media industry," the magazine reported.
Broadcasters have long argued that cable companies rake in billions of dollars, partly through carrying local stations to subscribers -- and that cable operators should pay for retransmission of their content.
Cable companies counter that they create value for broadcasters by extending their reach, the magazine said.
However, the retransmission war is not the issue holding up a Hawaii affiliation, McGuire said. None of the players will say what the problem is.
"The CW is in 93 percent of the homes in the U.S. and of course our ultimate goal is to be in everyone's home."
"To do that ... we have to negotiate with the cable and satellite companies to get carried on their system(s). In some places, that's easier than others."
Viewers should let cable and satellite providers know of their desire for the CW's programming, he said.
CBS Corp. is the other half of the CW's ownership equation, but press inquiries relating to the CW's affiliate agreements are being handled by the CW. CBS and KGMB-TV recently renewed their own affiliation agreement for a 10-year period.
Happy birthday, big O
The O Lounge nightclub turns two years old Wednesday, the birthday of founder Elizabeth Watanabe's grandfather, Minoru Hata. He was the son of Yoichi Hata, founder of Y. Hata & Co.
, a distributor for restaurant and food service companies in Hawaii.
"My grandfather gave me the financial means to be able to do this. All my armor, ammunition, everything I needed in life to be where I am and I feel like I owe it to him to give back a little," she said.
She started the business with a trust fund, while pregnant. When she opened the club, she was "still nursing."
Watanabe thought she would recoup her investment "a lot faster, but to be really honest ... I'm very happy where I am at, with the financial track of the business."
Special fundraising events at the club will benefit the National Kidney Foundation, the Children's Closet and other nonprofit organizations.
"I will continue to always do charity events," she said. "We are the people who can make a difference ... we are obligated to."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com