NEW YORK — Citing the “current climate” of sensitivity regarding school violence, the WB has decided to delay until late this summer the season finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which was to air tonight.
Seg, which concludes a two-part arc that began last week, features a scene in which a human character becomes a giant monster bent on harming the show’s student population as it nears graduation. In self-defense, the show’s title character and her peers violently counterattack the monster.
“It is out of sympathy and compassion for the families and communities that have been devastated by the recent senseless acts of violence perpetrated on high school campuses (in Colorado and Georgia) that we have decided to delay this broadcast,” WB topper Jamie Kellner said in a statement released late Monday.
“Given the current climate, depicting acts of violence at a high school graduation ceremony, even fantasy acts against 60-foot serpents and vampires, we believe, is inappropriate to broadcast around the actual dates of these time-honored ceremonies.”
Kellner apologized to viewers for the delay but said holding back the broadcast was “the best and most responsible decision for us to make.”
The WB will air a repeat “Buffy” in the slot.
The move will no doubt disappoint WB affils counting on the season finale of one of the netlet’s top-rated shows to help boost overall numbers for the May book.
Indeed, in Gotham, the WB flagship WPIX is in a tight race for first place in the 10 p.m. news race. While “Buffy” is an 8 p.m. show and does not lead into the newscast, the lack of an original seg could depress ratings for the entire night.
One beneficiary of the move could be ABC, which will broadcast the series finale of “Home Improvement” from 8-9:30 p.m. and now will have a better chance of attracting teen auds.