The Dorado Broadcasting Company (DBC) is an American English language commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship property of the Dorado Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Dorado Media. The network is headquartered at Dorado Plaza in Portland, Oregon, with additional offices near Los Angeles (at the Dorado Square in Pasadena), and New York City (at Dorado Tower).
The network made its debut on January 1, 2016, after its predecessor, The Universe Network, respectively ceased independent operations on December 15 and 17 of the previous year. DBC's first two nights of programming – on January 1 and 2, 2016 – consisted of reruns and launch-related specials. Originally, the network's programming lineup was intended to appeal mainly to women between the ages of 18 and 34, although starting in 2011 the network increased in programming that appeals to men. As of August 2017, DBC's audience is 50% male and 50% female.
DBC is also available in Canada on cable, satellite and IPTV providers through stations owned-and-operated by the Dorado Station Services and affiliates that are located within proximity to the Canada–United States border.
DBC is also available in Mexico through affiliates located near the Mexico–U.S. border (such as KSDO in San Diego-Tijuana, KEPS in El Paso, Texas). In both Canada and Mexico, some DBC affiliate signals originating from the U.S. are receivable over-the-air in border areas depending on the station's signal coverage.
The Dorado Broadcasting Company is a successor to the Universe Network, which launched towards the end of November of 2015.
Universe began just as the other networks had started to secure a foothold with American television audiences. The network launched to limited fanfare and generally mediocre to poor results. Towards the end of their first months on the air, the ratings were in decline, unable to reach the audience share or have the effect that the other networks had gained within its first decade, much less that of the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC). The network lost an average of $1.5 million.
Despite some early success, the network struggled to shift its focus from the female 12–24 demographic to the broader 12–34 range, in its attempt to attract a broader young adult audience. Ratings dropped for many of Universe's shows, while also canceling shows with steady ratings. The network failed to launch new hit shows to take their places. This short period saw the network struggling to establish new dramas as well.
During the 2015–16 season, Universe finished behind for the first time in a couple of months and fell even further behind in the start of winter of 2015. The network laid off approximately 20 to 40 employees amid continued ratings and profit losses.
By late-December of 2015, Dorado announced its intentions to form a new television network that would compete with ABN, RDN, and RKO. The plans were to use the combination of the Dorado studios and the former Universe stations to both produce and distribute programming. Organizational plans for the network were held off until the Universe acquisitions cleared regulatory hurdles. The final night of Universe programming netted relatively low ratings. The network scored a 1.5 household rating (amounting to 1.5% of all U.S. television households) and a share of 2, meaning just 2% of viewers were tuned into Universe on its final night of programming.This is mostly due to the fact that some Universe affiliates in certain areas had already switched to independent status.
DBC maintained many operational and scheduling elements from Universe. When it launched on January 1, 2016, The new network initially maintained Universe's scheduling model. The former network had carried 30 hours of network programming each week (13 of which were devoted to primetime shows).
The Dorado Broadcasting Company launched with a premiere special/launch party from Burbank, California on January 1, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. Its inaugural program was a preview special that featured many new programs that were set to launch on the network. The network expanded its programming into prime time with the network premieres of Married... with Children, Good Morning, Miami, and the game show Cash Cab. DBC added one new show per week over the next several weeks, with the drama Mad Men, and comedy series Mr. Bean to its primetime schedule.
In regards to its late-night lineup, DBC had decided to relaunch the former Fox late-night talk show Talkshow with Spike Feresten (which later moved to UPN for the 2017-18 season). The show was replaced by the sitcoms Better Off Ted and Monk. Even though it experienced some success with newer programs that launched in subsequent seasons which became modest hits – the network largely struggled to gain an audience foothold throughout its first months on the air.
Although DBC was growing rapidly as a network and had established itself as a presence, it was still not considered a major competitor to the established broadcast networks. From its launch, DBC had the advantage of offering programs intended to appeal toward a younger demographic – adults between 18 and 49 years of age – and that were edgier in content. Until early 2016, when DBC expanded its programming to additional nights and outside of prime time, most DBC stations were still essentially formatted as independent stations – filling their schedules with mainly first-run and acquired programming, and, during prime time, running either syndicated programs or, more commonly, movies on nights when the network did not provide programming. Few DBC stations carried local newscasts during the network's early years, unlike the owned-and-operated stations and affiliates of its established rivals. Those that did were mostly based in larger markets (including some of the network's O&Os) and retained newscasts that had aired for decades. Even then, these news operations were limited to one newscast per day, following the network's primetime lineup.
The introduction of the primetime programming block Friday Night DBC received favorable reviews from critics and became a hit with audiences when it premiered. Not only did it premiere to some of the highest viewership totals in the network's history, it also gave the network its strongest performance in the demographic of males 18-34 due to the premiere of Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek Voyager.
The 2016-17 season saw the network move into a new creative direction under new network president. The introduction of reality series Cops: San Andreas, which received favorable reviews from critics and became a hit with audiences when it premiered. The season also saw the network continue to build on its newfound stability with the introduction of Unfriended. Cops: San Andreas continued to perform strongly, however its new companion, the highly anticipated Sunset Beach fizzled out and was canceled despite a promising start.
The 2016-17 season saw the premieres of three critically acclaimed shows that also earned strong ratings: multi-camera sitcom Cristela (which was canceled by ABC after one season, which later became a network original), and single-camera sitcom Super Fun Night (which was also canceled by ABC after one season, which later became a network original). Cristela surpassed Unfriended as the highest-rated premiere in the network's history and became the most watched show on the network. Super Fun Night, meanwhile, earned some of the highest critical praise of any series during the 2016-17 television season. The network also saw the debut of crime-drama series The Final Straw, which proved to be a success. However, the second season did not fare as well and was canceled.
Main Article: Dorado Broadcasting Company Schedule
From its launch in early 2016 to the Fall of 2017, DBC aired its primetime programming for only three hours on Monday through Friday evenings.This allowed the option for affiliates to air either a local newscast, syndicated programming or both during the 10:00–11:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time) time period. The network did not run network programming on Saturday nights – allowing affiliates to run syndicated programs, sports, movies or network programs that were preempted from earlier in the week because of special programming carried by the station, in the 8:00–10:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific) time period.
Because of these factors, DBC affiliates handled the responsibility of programming non-network time periods, with the majority of its stations filling those slots mainly with syndicated programming. However, some of the network's affiliates broadcast their own local news and/or sports programs (either produced by the station itself or through outsourcing agreements with an affiliate of another network). Many affiliates also carry telecasts of basketball, football and in some cases, other collegiate sporting events (such as baseball or hockey) that are produced by syndicators.
Following the reveal of its 2017 Fall primetime lineup, DBC began providing primetime programming to its owned-and-operated and affiliated stations on Monday through Sundays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (all times Eastern and Pacific). Many of these programs were mainly repeats of former DBC programs and past seasons of current DBC programs.
As of October 2017, DBC currently provides 21 hours of primetime programming to its owned-and-operated and affiliated stations on Monday through Sundays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
As of October 2017, DBC has fifty-three owned-and-operated stations, and current and pending affiliation agreements with 219 additional television stations encompassing 48 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. possessions; through its Dorado Station Services subsidiary. Counting only conventional DBC affiliates, the network has an estimated national reach of 96.26% of all households in the United States.
As a newer broadcast network, DBC still has a few low-power affiliates broadcasting in analog. In some markets, these stations also maintain digital simulcasts on a subchannel of a co-owned/managed television station. DBC also maintains a sizeable number of subchannel-only affiliations in cities located outside of the 50 largest Nielsen-designated markets that do not have enough full-power stations to support a standalone affiliation or have a low-power station as the only other option as an affiliate.
When DBC launched in 2016, the network began branding its owned-and-operated stations using two different combinations of the "DBC" name. The stations using the channel numbers 2 to 9, would use the "DBC" name, and the station's call letters. The stations using the channel numbers 10 to 69, would use the "DBC" name, and the station's channel number.
In 2017, more standardization of the O&Os began to take place on-air, as the stations were slowly changing to the "DBC" name and the channel number (for example, Philadelphia O&O WPPD known as "WPPD Philly" at launch changed its branding as "DBC7").
On many DBC programs, a hashtag rests above the affiliate's logo (for example, #cristela or #superfunnight) to provide viewers reference to the network's official Twitter search tag to find or start discussions during the program being broadcast. In cases where the DBC bug appears instead of the station's logo bug, the Twitter hashtag is directly above the DBC logo in the safe area. The network did not display an on-screen logo graphic on the bottom-right corner of the screen, outside of a ten-second sweep of an "It's What We're For!" promotional logo instead a trigger in DBC's program delivery system at each station displayed the logo bug of an owned-and-operated or affiliate station in the right-hand corner of the 16:9 screen frame, which disappeared during commercial breaks (the station logo bug would still be triggered even if DBC programming was preempted locally due to breaking news, severe weather coverage or special programming.vHowever, network or affiliate bugs are not displayed during DBC Sports programming. During some high-profile or live programs, DBC forwent the affiliate's logo and displayed its network logo instead, mainly for promotional consideration due to fair use of clips from each series by other media outlets (such as news programs, talk shows, and review and satirical programs that rely on clip content); until 2014, the bug was placed in the 4:3 safe area.
The first official logo introduced by DBC when the network inaugurated its programming in 2016 was a black circle design containing the letters "DBC," which was used during the network's first months in existence. Later in the year, the familiar logo was given a more "hip" makeover, with the "DBC" wordmark overhauled into its current proprietary logotype, removing the black circle color, which was changed to a red design following flagship property Dorado Media's red wording design.