Days after the Emmys once again virtually shut out the WB, net has decided to counterprogram this year’s ceremony by airing the broadcast premiere of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”
Pic will air Sunday, Sept. 18, from 7-11 p.m., directly opposite CBS’ kudocast.
Pic could snag some younger eyeballs away, but it’s unlikely to make a huge dent in the Emmy ratings, especially given the hype surrounding the show this year thanks to “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”
WB Entertainment prexy David Janollari laughed off the suggestion that the “Two Towers” scheduling was in retaliation for the lack of Emmy love. Instead, he said the net was driven by a desire to air the pic on a single night rather than over two evenings.
“It will take on much more of an event status for us,” he said.
Broadcast of “Two Towers” falls right smack in the middle of the WB’s planned fall rollout.
Net will launch two nights — Tuesday and Friday — prior to the official Sept. 19 start of the 2005-06 season.
Tuesday’s “Gilmore Girls” and “Supernatural” will bow on Sept. 13, while the Friday laffer block — anchored by “Reba” at 9 p.m. — arrives Sept. 16.
Janollari said that “Gilmore” should start off with big numbers given how well it ended last season, and that launching “Supernatural” early will allow it “to get out ahead” of a number of other spooky dramas bowing this season.
Frog is essentially avoiding the premiere week crush altogether, bowing only Monday and Sunday nights during the Big Six equivalent of rush hour.
“We’ve changed our schedule up more and added more new shows than in recent history,” Janollari said. “We have to roll them out very carefully in order to accomplish the appropriate marketing for all these moves and all these shows.”
Monday dramas “7th Heaven” and “Just Legal” have their premieres on Sept. 19, while “Charmed” and “Blue Collar TV” will see their season preems Sunday, Sept. 25.
“Sex and the City” star Jason Lewis has joined the cast of “Charmed,” Janollari confirmed.
The WB’s big play of moving big guns “Smallville” and “Everwood” to Thursday night kicks in on Sept. 29 (though repeats are already airing on the night).
Net is saving its Wednesday premiere for last, holding back the premiere of its top-rated “One Tree Hill” and new sudser “Related” until Oct. 5.
Janollari said the plan is to get viewer circulation up to normal fall levels in order to give the Wednesday lineup a heavy promo push in preparation for what figures to be killer competish.