WHAT WORKED: The best ratings results for one of the WB’s new entries came from “Blue Collar TV,” although the Jeff Foxworthy sketch-com has cooled off some since moving to Fridays from Thursdays and isn’t the best demographic fit alongside the Frog’s other comedies.
And among returning programs, vets such as “Charmed,” “7th Heaven” and “Gilmore Girls” all look healthy, especially the latter, which has teamed on Tuesday with rising soph sudser “One Tree Hill” for some sizeable year-to-year gains. “Reba” continues to quietly perform well on Friday. Wednesday drama “Smallville” is also holding up pretty well despite going head-to-head with ABC’s hot new drama “Lost,” and Monday’s “Everwood” keeps plugging along.
The WB also has done a good job meeting its goal of airing more firstrun fare, resting winter repeats of “One Tree Hill,” for example, with the third edition of popular unscripted series “High School Reunion.” Also, telepic “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” — the net’s initial foray into the made-for biz — attracted a broad, sizable aud when it bowed in late November.
WHAT DIDN’T: Complicated Thursday quizzer “Studio 7” bombed in the summer and didn’t make it to fall, and derivative sudser “The Mountain” crumbled from the outset, although the net surprisingly stuck with it through December. New politically tinged drama “Jack & Bobby,” from “Everwood” creator Greg Berlanti, has been cheered by critics but isn’t a ratings hit; it will get a full-season’s worth of episodes to catch on, though, as the net gave it an early pickup and shifted it behind one of its most popular shows, Wednesday’s “Smallville.”
Biggest headache for the WB remains Sunday at 9, where no scripted series has worked over the past couple of years, and now ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” makes the slot even tougher.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Fresh episodes of last summer’s successful drama “Summerland” are due in late winter, perhaps spelling one of the net’s Monday dramas. And keep an eye on wannabe-actress skein “Starlets,” which looks like the net’s best shot at the kind of elimination-style reality series that has become a staple of the lineups at every other broadcaster — and it doesn’t hurt to have Faye Dunaway as one of its judges.
Fran Drescher’s new family laffer about a woman in love with a guy her son’s age (tentatively titled “Shacking Up”) looks like it could slide nicely into “Grounded for Life’s” 8:30 slot on Friday, teaming with “Reba” for one of the Frog’s most formidable comedy combos to date.
The WB also has a few more original movies in the works — including an updated “Blue Lagoon” and a biopic of Kurt Cobain — although they may not make it to air until next season.