Weblet to launch three new dramas

NEW YORK — Ad agency executives applauded the WB’s aggressive push into a fifth night of programming as well as the weblet’s launch of three new dramas.

The surging WB unintentionally demonstrated its newfound popularity Tuesday when available seating for its upfront presentation at the Sheraton ballroom quickly filled and dozens of agency folk were forbidden to enter by hotel security.

Those who did manage to get into the presentation saw the WB unveil its fifth night of programming, Thursday, which will contain the network’s urban-skewed sitcoms that now run on Sunday nights. “The Wayans Bros.” will lead Thursday night at 8 p.m., followed by “The Jamie Foxx Show” at 8:30 p.m. and “The Steve Harvey Show” at 9 p.m. “For Your Love,” a transplant from NBC, will round out the night at 9:30 p.m.

The WB will move its teen hit “Dawson’s Creek” to lead off its new Wednesday-night schedule, a move that will pit it directly against Fox’s teen vehicle “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

“That’s the kind of move Fox would do,” said Steve Sternberg, a senior partner at TN Media. ” ‘Dawson’s Creek’ is still building its audience.'”

“Charmed,” a new drama about three sisters who realize they are witches, will follow at 9 p.m. The Aaron Spelling creation stars Shannen Doherty.

On Tuesday, the WB will run “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” at 8 p.m., followed by the highly touted new drama “Felicity,” about a freshman college student on her own for the first time in New York City.

Stalwart “7th Heaven” will run Monday at 8 p.m., providing a strong lead in to “Hyperion,” another new drama.

Sunday will feature a rerun of “7th Heaven,” “Sister, Sister,” “Smart Guy,” “Unhappily Ever After” and a new sitcom, “The Army Show.”

“They’re looking good Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursday, they will certainly be an alternative,” said Gary Carr, senior VP, group director, national broadcast and programming, for Ammirati Puris Lintas.

At its presentation, the WB also previewed a half-dozen new sitcoms and dramas that the weblet will hold for a January launch.

Media buyers praised the WB for continuing to target teen and young adult viewers with new shows like “Felicity.”

“They really have a niche and they’re mining the hell out of it,” said Winner.

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