The WB Sticks With Scripted Programs


The WB has set its bar high for next year after record-setting Nielsen ratings during both the November and February sweeps. To maintain its growth, the network has picked up two dramas and four comedies, all produced by or in association with The WB sister company Warner Bros. Television.

Although The WB is making changes on five out of the six nights of its schedule, the network is sticking with strong scripted programming. It is moving hit show Smallville into Dawson's Creek
slot on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET and leaving Buffy
spinoff Angel—going into its fifth season—at 9. Fearless
will appear in Smallville's Tuesday 9:00 time period.

Jordan Levin, The WB entertainment president, has it right when he says that nowhere else on broadcast TV can viewers find so many character-driven dramas. And on no other network do the dramas skew so young.

The WB's challenge always has been comedy, but next season's lineup of Thursday and Friday sitcoms looks stronger this year than last. The network's patience with The Jamie Kennedy Experiment
may finally pay off, although it's still hidden in that tough Thursday 8:30 p.m. timeslot.

New for the Fall

3 sitcoms / 2 dramas / 1 variety

Steve Harvey's Big Time
(variety, Thursday, 8)—The WB alum returns, interviewing funny but "ordinary" people. Harvey, Madeleine Smithberg and Rushion McDonald executive-produce with Telepictures Productions.

Run of the House
(sitcom, Thursday, 9:30)—When parents move to Arizona, three elder siblings are left to care for 15-year-old sister. Creator Betsy Thomas will executive-produce, with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser. From The Tannenbaum Co. with WBTV.

Like Family
(sitcom, Friday, 8:30)—Multi-ethnic comedy starring The WB alum Holly Robinson Peete. Dan Fogelman created, while Rick Wiener, Kenny Schwartz and Warren Littlefield executive-produced. From WBTV.

All About the Andersons
(sitcom, Friday, 9:30)—Comic Anthony Anderson plays a strugging actor and single dad who moves back in with his parents. Adam Glass writes and executive-produces with Marco Pennette and James Widdoes. Anderson produces. From WBTV.

(drama, Tuesday, 9)—A young FBI agent (Rachel Leigh Cook) lacks the fear gene. Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, Jeremy Littman, Vincent Ngo and Evan Charnov executive-produce. From Jerry Bruckheimer Television with Warner Bros. Television.

Tarzan and Jane
(drama, Sunday, 9)—Remakes the classic story, now set in New York City. Spiderman's Laura Ziskin executive-produces, with David Gerber, P.K. Simonds, writer Eric Kripke and director David Nutter. From WBTV.

For Midseason

One Tree Hill
(sitcom)—Two half-brothers compete in basketball and for the love of the same girl. Mark Schwahn executive-produces, with Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. From Tollin/Robbins with WBTV.

Gilmore Girls spin-off
(drama)—Rory Gilmore's boyfriend, Jess, moves to Venice, Calif., to live with the father he never knew. Amy Sherman-Palladino writes, creates and executive-produces, with husband Daniel. From Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions and WBTV.

Make My Day
(reality)—Hidden-camera show imported from Britain. Sue Fellows executive-produces. From Monkey Television/UK and Brad Grey Television.