Net boasts impressionable auds, consumers

The Frog leapt with confidence before advertisers Tuesday, promising to deliver a fall sked that Madison Avenue can trust to follow in the WB tradition of unconventional and youth-targeted programming.

There were few frowns among media buyers attending the WB’s upfront sesh, where they got a peek of the net’s two new dramas, “Fearless” and “Tarzan and Jane” (Daily Variety, May 12.) Frog sked also includes four new comedies, including the laffer/variety show “Steve Harvey’s Big Time,” a preview of which drew a loud round of applause from media buyers.

“There is very good buzz about the WB. They have some really good programs, plain and simple, and ratings are up,” one top Madison Avenue exec said.

Shaping young minds

WB sales execs assured advertisers that the most opportune time to mold a consumer’s taste is when a consumer is young. Ergo, what better place to advertise than on the Frog, considering its emphasis on viewers 12-34.

“We are different. The WB isn’t trying to be just like everybody else,” WB exec veep for media sales Bill Morningstar said.

Media buyers attending the upfront at the Sheraton Towers in midtown Manhattan didn’t seem to mind that the weblet is making changes on five of six nights.

The weblet will be returning its hit scripted dramas, including “Everwood,” “Smallville,” “Charmed,” “7th Heaven” and “Gilmore Girls.” Comedies returning include the hit “Reba,” starring Reba McEntire.

Reality fading

Echoing other broadcast execs gathered in Gotham this week for the busy round of upfronts, WB entertainment prexy Jordan Levin said the appetite for reality is waning.

“I think media buyers have made it clear they don’t want reality,” Levin said.

Still, even the WB isn’t ready to entirely shelve unscripted skeins. Levin said 2003-2004 season would see new chapters of “High School Reunion” and “Surreal Life.”

The WB has just finished its first profitable year, with many shows registering year-to-year audience gains.

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