The WB sets a record pace
It has always been youth-oriented, but this fall's gains far exceed expectations
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/20/2002 8:00:00 PM
Three weeks into the new season, The WB's ratings performance turned it into the fastest-growing broadcast network on television, showing 28% growth in viewers season-to-date over last year, as well as a 47% gain in adults 18-34, 35% in persons 12-34 and 31% in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen numbers.
Advertisers are getting a very full bang for their buck. "They are hitting all the right notes this year so far, and it shows up in the Nielsen ratings," says Chris Geraci, director, national TV buying, OMD USA.
The solid performance also gives The WB an "outside shot" at being profitable for the first time, says President and COO Jed Petrick. "This year's performance is exceeding our business plan."
The WB has seen strong performances from its Sunday-Wednesday 8-10 p.m. block. Thursday-night ratings are relatively tiny, as powerhouses NBC and CBS battle it out, and Friday nights are mediocre, although sitcom Reba is holding its own.
The WB also is helped by a strong block of comedies in early and late access. "We've got the best access block from our affiliate body that we have ever had," Petrick says.
Says Dominic Mancuso, station manager of Tribune's WGN-TV Chicago, "The market has really embraced a couple of the shows." He cites Monday night's Everwood and the continued success of 7th Heaven. (Tribune Co. is a part owner of the network.)
The WB has picked up all its new shows for the season, except Wednesday's Birds of Prey, which has had only two outings but scored high in key demos. (In other pick-ups, ABC ordered a full season of Wednesday comedy The George Lopez Show. )
In the first three weeks of the season, CBS continued to erode NBC's lead, prevailing in households and viewers and closing the gap in adults 18-49.
For the week ended Oct. 13, in households CBS did a 8.9 rating/15 share, NBC 8.3/14, Fox 6.7/11, ABC 6.4/10, WB 3.2/5 and UPN 2.6/4. In adults 18-49, NBC did a 4.9/13, CBS 4.2/11, ABC 3.9/11, Fox 3.4/9, WB 2.3/6 and UPN 1.7/5.
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