ABC Family OKs more teen reality segs

'Switched,' 'Leonard' block boosts net's ratings

ABC Family has picked up 10 additional segs of new reality skeins “Switched!” and “The Brendan Leonard Show,” bringing the cable net’s total order to 40 episodes of each.

Both series are part of cabler’s recently launched Monday-Friday teen block (3-6 p.m.), which kicked off May 26.

In its premiere week, block posted a 63% increase (1.3) for the net among teens 12-17 vs. programming the previous year, and an 86% increase in the same demo from the previous four-week average. Net also drew a 37% bump in total viewers from the same four-week period.

“We want teens to know we’re here. It’s the first thing we really tackled,” said senior VP of programming Linda Mancuso. “We don’t have all the money in the world. So we’ll use some acquired programs and some original reality.”

Swapping lives

Half-hour series “Switched!,” from Charles Cook Prods. and Evolution Film & Tape, lets teens swap lives over a four-day period. Strip airs at 4:30 p.m.

Chicago cable-access transplant “Brendan Leonard” stars the 19-year-old of the title, who hosts, produces, writes and edits the show. Skein, produced by Picture Show, airs at 5:30.

“When we looked at who’s watching we said, ‘Whoa, we have a lot of girl teens.’ Brendan can bring the boys over,” Mancuso said. Since the show’s debut, net’s posted a 160% hike in male teens 12-17 from the previous four-week stretch. “It’s wonderful to have a great personality for the network to hang its hat on.”

Future plans for the block includes the launch of “Knock First,” a teen-targeted home redesign show for later this year.

Other current teen block programming includes the family drama “7th Heaven,” “Hang Time” and Olson twins starrers “Two of a Kind” and “So Little Time.”