Despite its action-heavy Saturday morning lineup, the WB still hopes to attract more girls to its top-rated kids franchise.
That’s one reason Kids’ WB will air an all-original slate on Friday afternoons (Daily Variety, April 4).
Speaking at the kids broadcaster’s upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday, Kids’ WB senior vice president Donna Friedman said the network skews more boy-oriented on Saturday partly because the competition (namely, Nickelodeon and ABC) attracts more girls.
On the other hand, the new Kids’ WB Friday lineup — to be branded “Fraturday” — will be geared toward a more balanced mix of boys and girls.
The lineup “will deliver truly gender-neutral audiences,” Friedman said.
Kids’ WB isn’t the only children’s broadcaster hoping to bring back more girls to the set. At its upfront presentation last month, Fox Kids Network also unveiled programming featuring characters targeted to attract a more balanced audience. Both Kids’ WB and Fox Kids have skewed heavily male in recent years while relying on more boy-friendly action shows.
Friedman said Kids’ WB will attempt to make “a move away from pure action” and try to focus more on “high adventure, humor and heart” this season.
The weblet’s Saturday will remain based around its top-rated “Pokemon” franchise. As expected, Kids’ WB has ordered 52 episodes of a new version of the series, “Pokemon GS.”
“Pokemon GS” will tie in to the debut of a new “Pokemon” feature film this summer and the launch of “Pokemon” Gold and Silver Game Boy games from Nintendo.
” ‘Pokemon’ hasn’t reached its peak yet,” Friedman said. “We expect this series to have a long life on Kids’ WB.”
Kids’ WB will use “Pokemon GS” as the focal point of its fall launch on Fridays and Saturdays. In this competitive kids’ environment, said WB Entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels, “hit programs are essential.”
Saturdays will kick off at 8 a.m. with the returning “Batman Beyond,” followed by repeats of “Pokemon” at 8:30.
At 9 a.m., the network will air Sony Pictures Family Entertainment’s “Jackie Chan Adventures,” featuring an animated version of the martial arts star. Chan will appear in live-action segments of the show, which stars Chan as an ancient artifact expert.
Friedman described the show as one “inspired by Jackie’s incredible feats” and said it “celebrates Chinese culture.”
Returning action series “Max Steel” airs at 9:30 a.m., followed by “Pokemon GS” at 10 a.m.
Warner Bros. Animation’s new “Static Shock,” which follows the adventures of the “first teenage African-American superhero,” airs at 10:30 a.m. Friedman said the show would feature “Chris Rock-like humor.”
“Men in Black” returns at 11 a.m., followed by the new generation of “X-Men,” titled “X-Men Evolution,” at 11:30 a.m.
Friedman emphasized that the tone of the animated series, from Marvel Studios and Film Roman, will be “much younger and lighter” than the live-action film from 20th Century Fox this summer. “X-Men Evolution” is a prequel of sorts, following the mutant superheroes as teenagers.
As for “Fraturdays,” the afternoon kicks off at 3 p.m. with the new Japanese anime series “Card Captors,” distributed by Nelvana. At 3:30 p.m., Kids’ WB debuts “Generation O!,” which follows the exploits of an 8-year-old singer and her band. Boston-based group Letters to Cleo will write and perform the songs used in “Generation O!” Show is co-produced by Sony Wonder and Germany’s RTV.
“Pokemon GS” tentpoles “Fraturday” at 4 p.m., followed at 4:30 by the “Batman Beyond” spinoff “The Zeta Project,” from Warner Bros. Animation.
Meanwhile, Kids’ WB has picked up the animated series “Cubix” for midseason. Series, from 4Kids Prods., takes place in Bubble Town, where everyone gets a robot.
As for Monday through Thursday afternoons, Kids’ WB will air “Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries” at 3 p.m., followed by “Batman Beyond,” “Pokemon” and “Men in Black.” In the mornings, the network will air “Pokemon” at 7 a.m. and the educational “Warner Bros.’ Histeria” at 7:30 — except Fridays, when the educational series “Detention” airs.