In a bid to stay hip year-round, The WB is adding roughly 100 hours of prime time programming in the 2004-05 season, bringing its total number of original hours to 450, says Chairman Garth Ancier.
The magic words? Reality shows. Expect a slew of them and a return of its key dramas this fall. CEO Jordan Levin admits he was surprised by viewers' and advertisers' almost insatiable appetite for reality fare. "I was wrong," he says. "I won't make that mistake again." To prove it, he has slated five new reality programs by the genre's top producers. Who Wants To Be a Millionaire's Michael Davies is producing Studio 7. Mark Burnett, of Survivor/Apprentice
fame, helms a new show, while Bachelor's Mike Fleiss is in charge of Big Man onCampus, which debuts midseason. He'll also produce a third installment of High
School Reunion. Jamie Kennedy's The
Jamie Kennedy Experiment
is canceled, but he will executive-produce reality series Wannabes, in which aspiring actresses live together while competing for a spot on a new WB show. Burnett will also produce a drama called Global Frequency.
Staggered premiere dates ensure that The WB launches at least one show a month this summer and fall.
JACK & BOBBY
(drama, Sunday, 9)—The story of two brothers, one of whom becomes president. From Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti/Liddell Productions, and Shoe Money Productions.
THE MOUNTAIN (drama, Thursday, 8)—Think Dynasty set at an Aspen-style ski resort. From Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision.
BLUE COLLAR TV (sitcom, Wednesday, 9)—Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy bring their Blue Collar Comedy Tour to TV. From Riverside Productions, Warner Brothers Television, and Bahr/Small Productions.
DREW CAREY'S GREEN Screen SHOW (sitcom, Wednesday, 9:30)—Whose Line Is It? meets special effects. From Production Group.
STUDIO 7 (reality, Thursday, 9) College-age kids live together for week while competing in game-show-like contests. The grand prize: $777,000. From Michael Davies' Diplomatic.
COMMANDO NANNY (sitcom, Friday, 8:30)—Based on the life of reality producer Mark Burnett. His time as a nanny before he launched his production career. From Warner Bros. Television.
SHACKING UP (sitcom, midseason) Fran (The Nanny) Drescher returns to TV as a mom with a son older than her studly boyfriend. From Regency Television.
ROCKY POINT (drama, midseason) Coming-of-age story set in Hawaii. From Warner Bros. Television
GLOBAL FREQUENCY (drama, midseason) Based on the series of books about a covert intelligence agency. From Warner Bros. Television, and Cloudbreak Entertainment.