The WB’s first movie night got off to a strong ratings start Tuesday with the original movie/series pilot “Witchblade,” from sister cabler TNT.

According to Nielsen, the two-hour pic starring Yancy Butler as a homicide detective whose quest for justice brings her into contact with an ancient yet living weapon (the Witchblade) helped the Frog net finish third among all networks Tuesday in men 18-49 (2.4/7), while its overall audience (5.2 million viewers) easily topped the WB’s Tuesday season average (4.2 million).

The “Witchblade” pic will air once more on TNT next Tuesday. The Warner Bros. series of the same name debuts June 12 on the cabler.

The WB is hoping to keep its circulation up this summer on Tuesdays by airing movies on the night that had been anchored by “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for the last several seasons. Upcoming theatricals loaned from the Turner cabler nets to air on the WB this summer include “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “The Breakfast Club.”

The arrangement for “Witchblade” to air on the WB is the latest move by Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner, who has made it a priority to share programming between the WB and Turner nets. TNT recently acquired off-network rights to air up to eight seasons of one of the weblet’s biggest hits, “Charmed” (Daily Variety, May 23).