‘Weekenders’ wend way to ABC Saturday

'Pepper' likely to be bumped

ABC will add the new half-hour animated series “The Weekenders” to its “Disney’s One Saturday Morning” block starting Feb. 26.

To make room, one of the existing “One Saturday Morning” cartoons — “Pepper Ann,” “Doug” and “Recess” — will have to be bumped out of the two-hour franchise.

“Pepper Ann” is the most likely candidate to move out of “One Saturday Morning” because the half-hour cartoon is double-run elsewhere on ABC’s Saturday morning sked.

“The Weekenders” focuses on four 12-year-olds and their activities from the time the school bell rings on Friday afternoon until they return to school Monday morning.

“To us, it’s a very compatible concept with the shows already in the two-hour ‘One Saturday Morning’ block,” said Jonathan Barzilay, senior vice president and general manager of ABC’s kids programming.

Until recently the dominant broadcaster on Saturday morning, ABC saw its Saturday kids fare spanked by Kids’ WB and its “Pokemon”-fueled lineup. Season to date, ABC is averaging a 2.9 rating among kids 2 to 11, down 10% from last year.

That puts ABC in third place behind WB (4 rating, up 126%) and Nickelodeon (3.8 rating, down 12%).

Despite the competition, Barzilay said the network doesn’t plan any major changes to its Saturday morning strategies.

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