In a closed-door session at NATPE last month, an NBC programming executive announced to affiliates that NBC intends to increase its Saturday morning teen block by an additional half-hour. As of press time, nothing had been chosen to fill the 30-minute slot, but a number of teen pilots are vying for the spot, says Kim Reed, a spokesperson for the network.
‘We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the year, so we’re sticking with it,’ says Reed. ‘With our Saturday teen block, we are programming for a [demographic] that was totally underserved.’ Reed points out that ratings for the current teen block, led by the sitcom Saved By the Bell: The New Class, reached the number one position among female teens for 19 out of 20 weeks this season. Other shows in the block include Hang Time and California Dreams. All three series were produced by Peter Engel Productions, and two were created by the executive producer in association with NBC Enterprises.
Chances are there will be no major surprises when the winning pilot for the open teen spot is announced. Engel is presenting most of the shows under consideration, and his track record with NBC thus far makes him a favorite with the network. But for now, ‘the programmers are looking at pilots, waiting to find out what they want to put into production,’ says Reed.