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From Usatoday.comWB plans fresher approach to programming - Clark Kent Will Fly !!
By Gary Levin
Thursday 15 July 2004, by xanderbnd
LOS ANGELES - WB executives on Wednesday blamed ratings woes on their past penchant for copying their own successful teen-drama formula to a fault.
"We were getting too derivative" and "stale," chairman Garth Ancier told TV critics at the summer gathering where networks present their fall shows. "We’re trying to break the mold and trying to create a network that doesn’t look the same every hour you turn it on." Ratings declined 11% last season.
The new marching orders: A more diverse group of programs with broader appeal to viewers older than its core 12-to-34-year-old audience, which will remain the network’s primary target.
"To the degree that we’ve presented ourselves as just a teenage network, that’s a very big mistake on our part," Ancier said. "We don’t want to be NBC, we don’t want to be CBS, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want those (older) people watching our network."
New this year is Jack and Bobby, a drama from Everwood creator Greg Berlanti about two brothers, one of whom is destined to become president. It features Christine Lahti as their eccentric mom and may have broader appeal; The Mountain, a more typical WB family soap set at a ski resort and starring Oliver Hudson; and Commando Nanny, an autobiographical sitcom from reality producer Mark Burnett that marks his first scripted series.
But there also is a bigger dose of reality, from Studio 7, a hybrid of a quiz show played by Real World-style housemates (premiering July 22), to Blue Collar TV, based on the tour of Jeff Foxworthy and other comedians (premiering July 29).
Ancier appeared with new entertainment president David Janollari (a producer of Six Feet Under and UPN’s Eve and One on One), who said "it would be great to have a show that galvanizes an audience in (as) big a way" as former WB signature series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
But both peeved critics when they couldn’t answer questions about the status of characters on some WB series. Janollari acknowledged he’d never seen the just-concluded reality series Superstar USA, and Ancier said he hadn’t heard about a controversy over copycat reality shows.