The WB Television Network has joined the elite ranks of profitable broadcast-television networks, coming in at $50 million in the black in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to Jed Petrick, chief operating officer of The WB. Besides The WB, only NBC and CBS of the Big Six nets showed a profit last year.
CBS is getting a little less certain that a reality series based on The Beverly Hillbillies
will ever come to be. The show came under fire two weeks ago when The Center for Rural Strategies took out full-page ads in The New York Times
and USA Today, saying the show was offensive to rural Americans. CBS planned to take a rural family and, like the fictional show, plop them down in the hills. Beverly, that is.
This is will be the last season for CBS staple Touched by an Angel, CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said last week. "When I took over this network, we were doing pretty badly. Touched by an Angel
was the only show that was doing well," he said. After nine seasons, the show's finale will be this May. Touched by an Angel
airs on Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Martial-arts drama Black Sash, starring Russell Wong, is the only new scripted show The WB has announced for midseason. The show, produced by Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins, is expected to premiere in March on Sundays at 9 p.m..
The WB also plans an improvisational sketch show called On the Spot
for midseason. The legendary Tim Conway tops a cast that includes Jeff B. Davis, who has appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and former members of improv comic troupe The Groundlings. Robert Cohen, a veteran TV comedy writer, created the show and executive-produces. Scripted shows in development at The WB are a spinoff of The Gilmore Girls
featuring the character of Jess Mariano, played by Milo Ventimiglia, and a prime time variety talk/show in which Steve Harvey will produce and star.
My Big Fat Greek Life, the much anticipated comedy, will bow on CBS on Feb. 24, at 9:30 p.m. After that, the show will move into its regular time period on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Becker, starring Ted Danson, at 8:30 p.m.
Creator and star, Nia Vardalos (above, with co-star Michael Constantine), says the show will be "hipped" up and given a younger feel, although almost the entire cast from the movie is intact. Only John Corbett, who is starring in the series Lucky
on FX, has been replaced. Steven Eckholdt will play Vardalos's husband.