WB most improved during sweeps


The WB Television Network has reason to gloat as November sweeps draws to a close. The netlet
scored its best ratings in sweeps across several demographic categories,
including adults 18 through 34, men 18 through 34, women 18 through 34, adults
18 through 49, women 18 through 49 and men 18 through 49.

The WB also beat the "Big Four" networks in many of its key demos in its most
popular hours, and it is the fastest-growing broadcast network across five of
the six key demos listed above.

Comparing this sweep to last year's, The WB has grown 19 percent in adults 18
through 34, 17 percent in adults 18 through 49 and 11 percent in total viewers.
The next-closest network is ABC, which also has seen significant growth in the
key demos, and particularly in adults 18 through 34 and women 18 through 34.

With all of the good news, The WB still has some work to do, and with that comes
some programming changes.

Birds of Prey is now officially canceled, and the network will move
Angel from Sundays at 9 p.m. to Wednesdays at 9 p.m. in January, said
Jordan Levin, The WB's president of entertainment.

"We attribute the softness of Birds of Prey to failure to execute,"
Levin said. "It was a strong concept that failed to execute, and the audience
abandoned the show as a result."

The numbers definitely proved that, as the show lost nearly one ratings point one
week after its October premiere.

In Angel's place, the network will air its new reality program, High
School Reunion
, which it will also reair Thursdays at 8 p.m. starting
Jan. 9.

Another new reality program, The Surreal Life, starts Thursdays at
9:30 p.m. in January, following The Jamie Kennedy Experiment at 9 p.m.
This will create an "all-reality Thursday" for the network through February
sweeps. High School Reunion is only a six-episode show, and The Surreal
is only eight, so the network will have to do some more rejiggering
come March.

Although its Thursday-night shows are not doing well, The WB plans to
reintroduce them in March in new time slots with new lead-ins.

"The WB has always found that being patient with programs for the most part
pays off for them," said Harry Keeshan, executive vice president, director of
national broadcast at PHD USA.

Grounded for Life, which The WB just acquired from Fox, will also
appear in March, likely on Fridays. "It performs well young, retains almost all
of its audience and people aren't very aware of it because it's never been a
priority at Fox," Levin said.

It's unclear what Grounded for Life would replace on Fridays. The WB
just placed an order for the last nine episodes of the seven-year-old Sabrina
the Teenage Witch
, and the network said it is happy with new shows What I Like About
and Greetings from Tucson, both of which score lackluster

Veteran Friday-night performer Reba continues to do well.