In an effort to become more of a player on TV’s most profitable night, The WB is moving two of its proven hits to Thursday, installing Smallville at 8 p.m. and family drama Everwood at 9.
Once dominated by NBC and its “Must See TV” lineup, and more recently by CBS's Must-CSI lineup, Thursday is not “the fortress it once was,” says The WB Entertainment President David Janollari.
“There is a great opportunity on Thursday nights and it is best taken advantage of with our signature hits,” he said. Advertisers, particularly movie studios and automakers, are inclined to buy time on Thursday nights to help move product on the weekend.
The WB unveiled the bold schedule shift Tuesday in New York, where the network introduced its new fall lineup to advertisers. The network will add three new dramas and one comedy in the fall and several more are planned for midseason.
New dramas include Related, a lighthearted drama about four adult sisters created by Friends producer Marta Kauffman, and from CSI executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the network’s first procedural crime drama , Just Legal, starring Don Johnson as a washed-up lawyer who partners with an 18-year-old whiz kid played by Jay Baruchel (Million Dollar Baby).
New thriller drama Supernatural features two brothers fighting evil in small towns across the country.
The lone new comedy is Twins, starring Melanie Griffith (Johnson’s ex-wife) as the ditzy mother of two polar opposite twins (Sarah Gilbert and newcomer Molly Stanton) trying to run the family lingerie business.
The new shows are part of the WB’s efforts to broaden its audience to adults 25-34. Since he arrived at the WB last year, Janollari says, the network has battled the perception that it is just a “teenage destination.”
Teenage viewers, he said, will watch older characters – a la Friends' huge following among high schoolers – but older viewers aren’t willing to “watch down.”
With new programs like Just Legal and Related, he says, “there are windows into every demographic. That is very important.”
The WB is shifting its low-brow male comedy Blue Collar TV from Friday to Sunday at 9 p.m. to take on ABC’s Desperate Housewives. “It is the quintessential counter programming,” Janollari says. It is paired with Charmed, returning for an eighth season despite speculation it might not be renewed.
Viewer favorite Gilmore Girls remains in its Tuesday 8 p.m. slot, leading into Supernatural. On Monday, Seventh Heaven, returning for its tenth season, will tee up Just Legal.
Related will be paired on Wednesday nights with break-out hit drama, One Tree Hill, returning for its third season.
Twins will be part of the Friday night comedy block, along with returning shows What I like About You, Reba, and Living with Fran.
Not making it back on the schedule are dramas Jack & Bobby, Summerland and the now-grounded for life Grounded For Life.