You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sibling revelery works for WBTV, Frog net

Levin vertically integrates sked

With its most synergistically minded sked yet, the WB will add a quartet of comedies and a pair of dramas to its primetime lineup this fall — all from sister studio Warner Bros. TV.

Additions, to be announced today at the WB’s upfront presentation, are part of an ambitious scheduling play that calls for changes on five of the six nights the Frog programs.

Highlights include revamped comedy blocks on Thursday and Friday nights and the move of Frog hit “Smallville” to Wednesday nights, where it will lead into the returning “Angel” (Daily Variety, May 12).

Replacing “Smallville” will be the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced actioner “Fearless,” a move that creates a femme-focused Tuesday.

Net also is making a bold move on Sundays by scheduling one of its most buzzworthy newcomers — “Tarzan and Jane” — Sundays at 9 p.m. First-season repeats of “Smallville” lead off Sunday, with “Charmed” remaining at 8 p.m.

The Frog’s reliance on WBTV for all of its new product is likely to raise eyebrows.

WB Entertainment prexy Jordan Levin made no apologies for the vertically integrated bent of his sked.

“I know it sounds completely disingenuous, but we picked the best shows we had,” he said.

Given that the bulk of the Frog’s pilots were produced by WBTV, it was all but a given that the net’s fall lineup would be heavy on inhouse fare.

“We were aware this would happen,” Levin said.

Inside laughs

The WB’s four new laffers all originated with the net’s comedy development team. Frog has a tradition of nurturing shows inhouse before laying them off on studios. This year, the net placed those projects at WBTV.

“In this economic environment, I have no shame putting our internal development over at Warner Bros.,” Levin said. “They’re the most supportive in terms of deficit-financing, and they’re also creatively supportive.”

Synergy worked both ways: Frog’s two frosh dramas originated with WBTV producers and the studio’s development team.

Levin said WBTV prexy Peter Roth also deserves credit for creating an environment that makes vertical integration a natural.

“Peter’s a throwback to an old era where studio chiefs were passionately supportive of their producers. He’s a strong advocate for the WB, while also creating shows for other networks.”

As for the specifics of the sked, Frog made some interesting choices on its two comedy nights.

‘Reba’ spark?

Established success “Reba” will kick off Friday nights rather than anchor at 9 — a bit of a risk given that the Frog’s Friday is working pretty well. Still, execs believe returning laffer “Grounded for Life” will work in “Reba’s” old slot.

Thursdays will kick off with a reality/variety block, leading into a young-female-targeted 9-10 p.m. block of comedies.

Laffers not returning for second seasons include “Greetings From Tucson,” “Do Over,” “Family Affair” and “On the Spot”; long-delayed “The O’Keefes” debuts this month but likely won’t be back.

Dramas on the outs include “Birds of Prey” and “The Black Sash”; “Dawson’s Creek” ends its storied run next week.

More TV

  • New TV Adaptation of Kids' Classic

    New TV Adaptation of Kids' Classic 'The Velveteen Rabbit' in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

    The writer of upcoming BBC and Netflix series “Watership Down” and the producers behind hit animated specials including “The Gruffalo” are adapting the classic children’s tale “The Velveteen Rabbit” for TV. Magic Light Pictures and Tom Bidwell are in development on the project and already talking to broadcasters. For U.K.-based Magic Light, it will mark [...]

  • Smithsonian subscription VOD

    Smithsonian Networks Launches New Subscription VOD Service, Folding in Smithsonian Earth

    Smithsonian Networks has expanded its push to reach cord-cutters with the launch of Smithsonian Channel Plus, promising subscribers 1,000-plus hours of streaming nonfiction programming for $5 per month. The new subscription VOD service incorporates and supersedes Smithsonian Earth, the company’s $3.99-monthly SVOD service that launched three years ago, which had been geared around nature and wildlife. [...]

  • 'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings

    'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings at Home

    With its international rollout well underway, the critically acclaimed TV series “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s bestselling “Neapolitan Novels,” is scoring strong ratings at home in Italy, and is also playing well in the U.S. and U.K. The show, which explores the bounds of female friendship, is being [...]

  • Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC

    Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC Adaptation of Man Booker Prize Winner ‘The Luminaries’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie have joined “The Luminaries,” with production now underway on the highly anticipated series adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel. The pair join Eve Hewson (“The Knick”), Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”) and Marton Csokas (“Into the Badlands”) in the period piece. The high-end drama is being produced by Working [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    ‘CBS This Morning’ Executive Producer in Potential Exit Talks

    Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning” and one of the architects of the A.M. program, is currently in contract discussions that could lead to his exit from the show, according to three people familiar with the matter. Kadro’s contract is slated to run out at the end of the year, and he [...]

  • NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California

    NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California Live' Daily Daytime Series

    NBC’s three California O&Os are set to launch a live daily lifestyle series dubbed “California Live.” The series will air at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday across KNBC-TV Los Angeles, KNTV-TV San Francisco and KNSD San Diego. The show will have some modular segments that will be customized for each market, with an emphasis on [...]

  • TV Roundup: Netflix Sets 'Tidying Up

    TV News Roundup: Steven Yeun Joins 'Twilight Zone' at CBS All Access

    In Wednesday’s roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and Steven Yeun joins Jordan Peele’s “Twilight Zone” reboot. FIRST LOOKS  Variety has an exclusive behind-the-scenes first look at Season 2 of Showtime’s “SMILF,” featuring creator and star, Frankie Shaw. The new season, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, finds Bridgette trying to move [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content