A comedy starring Ellen DeGeneres as the voice of a dog and a reality show pairing rich kids with working-class people are among shows in development outlined by WB executives Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.
Network Entertainment President David Janollari also reiterated that veteran drama 7th Heaven will not return next season, though he said the network is in early conversations about a possible spinoff.
WB Chairman Garth Ancier pointed out that the show lost $16 million this season, despite a license-fee reduction from last year.
The network also held panels for four shows that are still due out this season – Pepper Dennis, Modern Men, The Bedford Diaries and Misconceptions – but did not announce a premiere date or time slot for any of the four.
Janollari said that, while no plans are set, nothing will debut before the end of March or early April, and Bedford Diaries may end up Wednesdays at 9.
The network will also use movies and marathons of current shows, like returning reality show Beauty and the Geek, to counter-program nights that feature popular events such as the Super Bowl, Academy Awards and certain Olympic nights.
Among the projects in development outlined Monday:
• Ellen DeGeneres and her brother Vance DeGeneres are teaming for an untitled comedy script that depicts family life from the perspective of both the family and their dog. DeGeneres, who notably voiced a fish in theatrical Finding Nemo, will voice the dog in this live-action sitcom
• Survival of the Richest, due out this summer, is an elimination-style reality show that pairs seven rich kids with seven working-class people.
• A reverse format of its Beauty and the Geek that would pair good-looking guys with brainy women. The network would like to have it for next season.
• Fountain of Youth, from Geek creators Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, is an Amazing Race-type show pairing a young teammate with a senior citizen. Casting hasn’t begun, but the network wants the show ready for next season.
• A multicultural female ensemble show featuring actress/singer Brandi.
• Aquaman, from the creators of Smallville, will feature the DC Comics character and begin production in March in Miami.
• Juniper Hall is a teen series from former Six Feet Under writer Craig Wright.
• Cult, about a TV show of the same name.