Morningstar rises

WB rewards exec for glad ad tidings

NEW YORK — One of the principal architects of the WB’s resurgent advertising picture has been rewarded with senior VP stripes.

Veteran WB ad sales exec Bill Morningstar, who most recently was VP, Eastern sales, has been tapped to head ad sales at the Frog net as it enters the upfront season. As senior VP of media sales, Morningstar will fill the shoes worn most recently by Jed Petrick, who was promoted to prexy and chief operating officer in January.

Charged with managing the web’s sales staff, Morningstar will remain based in Gotham and report to Petrick. Morningstar also will continue to be responsible for all network ad revenue for Kids’ WB! and the WB primetime.

The network surpassed $500 million in revenue for the second consecutive season in 2000-01, according to WB estimates. Despite analysts’ gloomy predictions, Morningstar is bullish on this year’s upfront.

“Everybody wishes they knew where this economy was going. But regardless of the marketplace, we have a really unique product here and we’re breaking through on adults 18-34,” Morningstar said. “Being really targeted will put us in a good position in the upfront.”

Sweeps gains

During February sweeps, the WB gained 18% in adults 18-34 compared to the previous year. In some categories, the netlet is performing at the highest levels in its seven-year history. Season-to-date, for instance, the Frog’s 2.0/5 rating in adults 18-34 is 87% higher than in its first season (1.2/3).

Petrick credits Morningstar with much of the net’s sales success. “He’s been involved with every major decision we’ve made since this place has started,” Petrick said. “Billy’s the man.”

Before joining the WB in 1994, Morningstar was a VP in the network group at Grey Advertising.

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