Kids’ WB! has more than doubled its kids half-hours for this fall. The increase, from nine to 19 hours a week, puts the network neck-in-neck with Fox Kids in terms of hours of children’s programming. Jean MacCurdy, president of Warner Bros. Television Animation, announced the new lineup at the New York advertisers’ upfront presentation. ‘We’re home to the most popular animated ‘stars’ in the world,’ she said. ‘Six days a week, 19 hours a week.’
The move is seen as a means to provide strong platforms for cross-promotion of WB’s prime-time offerings. The network also has high hopes for its new 3 to 5 p.m. kids slot. All these strategies are designed to boost this season’s sagging ratings, which are off 20 percent from a year ago.
‘For the first time, the network will play as a block with network-produced cross-promotion through four day parts,’ says Jamie Kellner, head of The WB Television Network, outlining the new strategy. The longer blocks of programming are designed to boost kids’ viewership in each day part.
Norman Lear and Jim George are executive producers of the new Saturday morning animated comedy/adventure series Umptee-3 TV. The show, which centers on the founders of a pirate TV station, qualifies as educational programming.
In addition to the several new programs on its slate, Kids’ WB! will draw from Warner Bros.’ renowned animation library to fill the new slots. Programs that comprise animated classics, such as The Bugs ‘n’ Daffy Show and The Daffy Duck Show, round out the slate.
Regarding the obvious similarities between itself and a rival network, a WB spokesperson notes, ‘this is exactly where Fox Kids was two years ago.’