WB 100+ wields program power

Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

If programming for one market isn’t tough enough, try scheduling for 108 cities.
But that’s exactly what Lynn Stephanian, senior VP of programming and distribution for The WB100+ Station Group, was planning at NATPE. Now as the broadcast company continues to grow, so do her expectations for the upcoming season.
“This is easily the strongest schedule we have ever had going into the ’02-03 season,” Ms. Stephanian said. “We’ve picked up a number of programs that have a lot of potential. You can imagine how hard it is to find a show that will appeal across the board in 108 cities.”
With virtually every syndicator aiming to clear the smaller markets following initial deals with groups in the larger cities, The WB 100+ has grown increasingly important in determining who may or may not be in the national lineups this fall.
On the weekday side of the programming coin, the group pinned down off-network runs of “The West Wing” for 2003 at the convention and will be adding Telepictures Distribution’s “Celebrity Justice” to the mix this fall.
`”Celebrity Justice’ is an interesting addition to the schedule because it brings a day-and-date element to the show that we don’t presently have,” she said. The series will most likely be paired with one of the group’s court shows.
Ms. Stephanian has also secured off-network runs of “Will & Grace” and picked up Warner Bros.’ returning “Moral Court” and the just-launched “Texas Justice.”
“We’re very excited about `Texas Justice.’ So far it’s been a great first-run product for our air, pulling very strong numbers,” she said. “We’re comfortable with the fact that it will continue to grow, and that’s something that’s difficult to pull off in all our cities.”
The company has locked in renewals for Telepictures’ “Elimidate” and Universal Worldwide Television’s “The Fifth Wheel.” On the outside looking in is Paramount Domestic Television’s “Rendez-View,” which recently lost its Los Angeles outlet and does not yet have a renewal on The WB 100+ Station Group.
Also not being renewed are the departing “Rosie O’Donnell,” off-network runs of “The Real World” and weekly boxing series “Thunderbox.”
Ms. Stephanian signed deals for weekly series “Teen Talk,” from independent outlet Clark Productions, and October Moon’s “John Woo’s Once a Thief” and “Road Rules” for debuts this fall. Renewals have been secured for Promark Entertainment Group’s “Secret Adventures of Jules Verne” “Beastmaster,” “The Bravest,” “The Lost World” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”