(May 16, 2000 - New York, NY) — The WB Network unveiled its new primetime schedule this morning amid a great deal of surprise scheduling announcements that the network believes guarantees ratings growth for next season. The primetime schedule was announced this morning by Susanne Daniels, President, Entertainment and Jordan Levin, Executive Vice President, Programming. As promised throughout the development season, the network put a strong emphasis on comedy, adding five promising new series. Those include three new series: “NIKKI,” created by Bruce Helford (“The Drew Carey Show,” “Norm”) and starring Nikki Cox and newcomer Nick von Esmarch; “HYPE,” an ensemble sketch comedy lampooning what and who is being overexposed in pop culture; and “GROSSE POINTE,” a comedy about the behind-the-scenes machinations of a primetime soap opera from writer/executive producer Darren Star (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Sex and the City”). The WB also added two proven comedies, taken from ABC and Fox, that will be used to launch its two comedy nights. “SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH,” a top 20 program season to date in women 12-34, will anchor The WB’s new Friday night line-up and “THE PJs,” featuring the voice of and executive produced by Eddie Murphy, will lead off Sunday nights. “Comedy was our number one priority in development this season and we feel great about adding five new distinctive comedies that all have a chance to break out on our schedule next season,” said Ms. Daniels. The WB will revamp its Friday night schedule to take advantage of the addition of “SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH” at 8:00 p.m. ET. The new Darren Star comedy “GROSSE POINTE,” sure to get a great deal of attention, follows at 8:30 p.m. ET, “POPULAR,” the satirical one-hour comedy, rounds out the night from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET. “SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH” will also be greatly advantaged this season with a tremendous promotional push slated for mid-September as the program airs in syndication for the first time. In all, 34 affiliates of The WB, covering 56% of the country, including the Tribune station group (a 25% owner of The WB) will carry the show in syndication. “With ABC giving up on its TGIF franchise, who better than The WB to try to take over that space,” said Ms. Daniels. “Tribune and ACME, our two biggest station groups, are launching the show in prime access this fall, giving us a tremendous added promotional push that will help insure success, as this very successful ABC comedy changes networks.” On Sunday nights, The WB will kick off the night with “THE PJs” at 7:00 p.m. ET, a show that played very well on the Fox schedule. “THE PJs” will be followed by “THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW,” “THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW” and “FOR YOUR LOVE” from 7:00-9:00 p.m. ET. From 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, The WB will launch two exciting new comedies. “HYPE,” a new sketch comedy show that will poke fun at whatever is being overexposed in pop culture, is the type of topical, irreverent show that could become appointment television for those looking for a comedy alternative on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. At 9:30 p.m. ET, Nikki Cox and newcomer Nick von Esmarch star in the Bruce Helford comedy “NIKKI.” Ms. Cox stars as a newlywed who wants to be a Las Vegas showgirl, while her husband (von Esmarch) tries to break into big-time professional wrestling. In a major announcement, The WB will air all original episodes of “FELICITY” and “JACK & JILL” in the Wednesday night 9:00 p.m. ET time slot this season. The plan is for “FELICITY” to air an 11-episode story arc for 11 consecutive weeks running through December. In January, the network will replace “FELICITY” with “JACK & JILL” for 13 original episodes. In early April, “FELICITY” will come back for another 11 original episode story arc, running through May sweeps. This will give The WB viewers 35 consecutive weeks of original programming following “DAWSON'S CREEK,” a show recently regaining the momentum of its first season in quality and ratings performance. “DAWSON'S CREEK” will compete in the 8:00 p.m. ET time slot for the third consecutive year. This fall, the show will benefit from the retirement of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” its chief rival for The WB’s coveted 12-34 female audience. “One of the most exciting things about our schedule this season is our plan for ‘FELICITY’ and ‘JACK & JILL,’” said Ms. Daniels. “These are two very smart, well-executed series that work much better when you don’t break their story arcs with repeats. We believe this will enable both programs to reach their ratings potential on a night when viewers of the former Fox dramas are now available. Together, these shows boast two of the best casts on television including Golden Globe winner Keri Russell, Scott Speedman and Scott Foley, and on ‘JACK & JILL,’ perhaps the hottest young actress in the business, Amanda Peet, and Ivan Sergei.” The strength of The WB’s anchor dramas this season will be enhanced in the fall as every one of them is staying in their season-ending timeslots. On Monday, “7TH HEAVEN” and “ROSWELL”; Tuesday, “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” and “ANGEL”; Wednesday, “DAWSON'S CREEK” and “FELICITY” remain stet, with The WB’s second highest-rated series, “CHARMED,” returning to its highly successful Thursday night timeslot at 9:00 p.m. ET. “Stability in scheduling is always something that you strive for and we have accomplished that this season by keeping every one of our anchor dramas in their season-ending timeslots,” said Ms. Daniels. “’ROSWELL’ and ‘FELICITY’ came into their own creatively and ratings-wise the last eight episodes of the year and they both earned their way onto the schedule. The Tabasco sauce, e-mail campaigns and demonstrations also got our attention.” On Thursday nights, The WB will debut “GILMORE GIRLS,” leading off the night in the same time slot in which “POPULAR” was able to cultivate a following. The first series to make it to air supported by the Family Friendly Programming Initiative’s script development fund, “GILMORE GIRLS” is a sophisticated dramedy centered around a wonderful relationship between a 32-year-old mother and her 16-year-old daughter who live in a town populated with characters that would make “Northern Exposure” proud. Much like executive producer Brenda Hampton, Amy Sherman-Palladino executive produces the series, coming to drama from the world of sitcom writing for such acclaimed shows as “Roseanne.” “We developed a number of quality dramas this year, that in the past would have made our schedule,” said Ms. Daniels. “’GILMORE GIRLS’ is very special and has the potential to be a very important show for us for many years to come.” In addition to the five new comedies, The WB ordered two comedies for mid-season. In a surprise announcement, The WB has ordered a new variety show starring the multi-talented Jamie Foxx that will premiere in the spring. “THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW,” which is entering its fifth season, will produce 12 new episodes for the fall schedule, bringing the series to the magical 100 episode mark. “THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW” is already in production for next season and at the conclusion of the 100th episode, work will begin on the new series from the “In Living Color” alumnus. “In Jamie Foxx, we have a proven sketch comedy actor who since his turn on ‘In Living Color’ has blossomed into a feature film, television and live-concert star,” said Ms. Daniels. “We think Jamie can be the impresario to host a cutting-edge, weekly variety show that will highlight his many talents and include weekly guest stars and musical acts in a project we are very excited about for spring.” The 100-episode mark will be eclipsed this season by four series on The WB, all of which launched during the 1996-97 season. They include “7TH HEAVEN,” “THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW,” “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” and “THE JAMIE FOXX SHOW.” That brings to seven the number of series that have reached 100 episodes or more on The WB as the network enters its seventh season in the fall. The other three series include “UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER,” “THE WAYANS BROS.” and “SISTER, SISTER” (“SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH” will also surpass 100 episodes this season). “We have believed from the beginning that a new network needs stability in its programs from year to year, which advantages our audience, advertisers, and studio suppliers.” said Ms. Daniels. “Our schedule this season reflects our emphasis on stability. Not only with the four series that will reach 100 episodes, but also by returning to the schedule every one of our quality dramas. The second mid-season comedy is the previously announced “THE OBLONGS,” an irreverent animated comedy from prolific executive producer Bruce Helford and Jace Richdale. “Bruce Helford brings us a mid-season animated comedy in ‘THE OBLONGS’ that breaks all the conventions, but at the heart is an odd, but lovable family,” said Ms. Daniels. A unique one-hour midseason entry from the writers of “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “High Fidelity,” “DEAD LAST” is an original one-hour comedic thriller with an attitude and style all its own, chronicling the misadventures of a struggling rock band with the unwanted power to see the spirits that walk among us. “Continuing our goal of bringing fresh feature film voices to The WB, Steve Pink and D.V. de Vincentis are two of the hottest writers in feature films right now and an incredible addition to our roster of top executive producer talent,” said Ms. Daniels. “Much like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ four years ago, “DEAD LAST” gives us a very flexible one-hour program that could really ignite our schedule at mid-season.” The WB also announced original programming for the summer months, launching two new series: “YOUNG AMERICANS,” a provocative new one-hour drama series set at a prestigious New England boarding school, and “BABY BLUES,” an animated half-hour comedy based on the award-winning comic strip with stories for the whole family. “YOUNG AMERICANS” is set to premiere in the post-“DAWSON’S CREEK” timeslot on Wednesday, July 12 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET). In a special cross promotion between the two series, “YOUNG AMERICANS” cast member Rodney Scott recently appeared as his character Will Krudski in three episodes of “DAWSON’S CREEK.” “The WB’s core audience is looking for new entertainment during the summer, and launching new shows against largely repeat programming makes great sense for us,” said Ms. Daniels. A night-by-night breakdown of the schedule and accompanying details on all the programs is attached to this release.
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