NEW YORK — The WB is shaking up its sked for fall 2002, adding four comedies and two dramas to a lineup that boasts changes on every night but Tuesday.
Among the shifts set to be announced to advertisers at the net’s annual upfront presentation today are a new Thursday comedy block and a Sunday drama sked anchored by vet hours “Charmed” and “Angel” along with first-season repeats of “Gilmore Girls.” Overall, the WB will add four hours of original programming to its 13-hour sked; as previously announced, the net will also program same-week repeats of dramas outside of primetime, Sundays from 5 to 7 p.m.
Frog hopes to lessen the impact of the changes by adding several easily promotable franchises to its lineup, including a new take on classic comedy “Family Affair,” as well as a half-hour toplined by Nickelodeon-bred tween superstar Amanda Bynes and an hourlong femme superhero hour based on the “Birds of Prey” comics.
In addition, Sunday will feature completely familiar fare with shows that have cult followings, likely allowing the WB to improve on its weakest night.
This season’s Tuesday combo of “Gilmore Girls” and “Smallville” will also return intact — a vote of confidence from Frog execs, who are pleased with how the shows have thrived as a replacement for the departed “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Keeping with the industry trend, the WB has a corporate stake in all but one of its shows, either through Warner Bros. TV or its new Turner-based inhouse studio.
The six new shows picked up for fall are:
- “Family Affair” (Pariah in association with Turner Television): Tim Curry stars as Mr. French in this modern update of the classic half-hour. Bob Young, Gavin Polone, Randy Pope and Sid & Marty Krofft are exec producers.
- “Do Over” (Paramount/The Littlefield Co.): One of several period pieces slated to bow this fall, this half-hour lets a man (Penn Badgley) relive his 1980s life. Gigi Rice, Michael Milhoan and Angela Goethals also star. Skein is the first from former NBC topper Warren Littlefield’s production banner. Littlefield, Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz are exec producers.
- “What I Like About You” (Tollin-Robbins/Warner Bros. TV): a family laffer starring Bynes and former “Beverly Hills, 90210” resident Jennie Garth. Wil Calhoun and Dan Schneider are exec producers, along with Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola.
- “Greetings from Tucson” (Turner Television), a Latino-based family comedy starring Pablo Santos and Julio Oscar Mechoso. Peter Murrieta, Rob LaZebnik, Howard Klein and David Miner are exec producers.
- “Birds of Prey” (Tollin-Robbins/Warner Bros. TV): They’re young, they’re hot and they’ve got super powers. Set in a futuristic city, “Birds” is inspired by the DC Comics offshoot of the Batman comics. Dina Meyer, Ashley Scott and Rachel Skarsten star as the femme crimefighters. Project is exec produced by “Smallville” exec producers Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, along with Laeta Kalogridis.
- “Everwood”: As previously announced, the Frog has also ordered the Treat Williams-led family drama.
As for midseason, only official Frog pickup is “The O’Keefes,” a half-hour comedy about an old-fashioned family trying to make it in a pop culture kind of world. Mark O’Keefe and Becky Hartman-Edwards are exec producers of the skein, from Turner Television.
Skeins not returning next fall include Friday comedies “Maybe It’s Me” and “Raising Dad,” the “Popstars” franchise, and the previously axed “Felicity,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” “Men, Women and Dogs,” “Nikki” and “Elimidate Deluxe.” Fall 2001 frosh skeins graduating to a second season are “Smallville” and “Off- Centre.”