CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The Television Critics Association continued its winter press tour this week in which the various broadcast and cable networks talk about their upcoming plans to the nation's top critics and entertainment reporters.
Here's a breakdown of the highlights of The WB's presentation (via press release):
THE WB TO ENTER THE MADE-FOR-TV MOVIE WORLD
TANA NUGENT JAMIESON, WHO DEVELOPED THE #1-RATED BASIC CABLE MOVIE OF ALL TIME FOR TBS, IS NAMED TO HEAD NEWLY CREATED DEPARTMENT
The WB Network is adding Made-for-Television movies to its program repertoire and has tabbed successful industry veteran Tana Nugent Jamieson as Senior Vice President, Programming, Made-for-Television Movies. The announcement was made today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour by The WB's Co-CEO, Jordan Levin. Ms. Jamieson, who will also consult on drama development, will report to Carolyn Bernstein, Executive Vice President, Drama Development.
The first film on Ms. Jamieson's docket will be an adaptation of the Samantha character from the "American Girls" series.
"Broadcast television has largely abandoned the long-form genre to cable, particularly with content directed at younger viewers," Mr. Levin said. "We have had success with theatrical presentations and have decided that this would be a great time to expand into original production."
Ms. Jamieson comes to The WB from TBS, where she was Vice President, Original Programming/Movies. She is credited with developing "Red Water," the highest-rated basic cable movie in history. Other credits include a John F. Kennedy, Jr. biopic. She has worked with actors such as Billy Zane, Tom Skerrit and Brian Cranston.
"We are fortunate to be able to get someone with the successful experience that Tana has," Mr. Levin continued. "Not only does she have a great creative instinct, she brings with her a tremendous institutional knowledge of the inner-workings of the television movie world."
Prior to working at Turner, Ms. Jamieson was a producer. Her credits include "Peter Benchley's �The Beast," "Sweet Dreams" and "Friends Till the End."
CHRISTOPHER REEVE RETURNS TO "SMALLVILLE"
REEVE'S CHARACTER, DR. SWANN, PLAYS A VITAL ROLE IN THE SUPER SERIES' MYTHOLOGY
Christopher Reeve will return to SMALLVILLE, it was announced today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. The big screen Clark Kent/Superman will reprise his role of Dr. Swann in an episode that will air on Wednesday, April 14 at (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) on The WB.
Just as he did in his first appearance on the hit drama last season, Reeve's Dr. Swann will help advance the Superman mythology. As Lionel Luthor (John Glover) closes in on Clark Kent's (Tom Welling) secret, he approaches Dr. Swann for information. Concerned for Clark's safety, Dr. Swann warns him that Lionel is getting closer to the truth. Last season, Dr. Swann came into contact with Clark and filled him in on his origins and home planet of Krypton. The episode was one of the highest-rated in the history of the hit series.
Reeve, who brought the Clark Kent/Superman character to life in four "Superman" motion pictures, was paralyzed in a horseback-riding accident, and is continuing to fight to walk again. With his wife Dana, he continues his work as an advocate for paralysis research. Together, the Reeves opened The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, the nation's first facility devoted to teaching paralyzed people to live more independently.
SMALLVILLE was written and developed by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar based on the DC Comics characters. Gough and Millar serve as executive producers, along with Greg Beeman, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola and Ken Horton. The series is produced by Tollin/Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. SUPERMAN was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.
NEW SERIES MARCH ONTO THE WB'S SCHEDULE
"THE HELP" PREMIERES FRIDAY, MARCH 5 AND "HIGH SCHOOL REUNION" PREMIERES SUNDAY, MARCH 14
Irreverent comedy THE HELP and the second installment of reality series HIGH SCHOOL REUNION will make their debuts on The WB in March, it was announced today at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. THE HELP will premiere on Friday, March 5 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET) and HIGH SCHOOL REUNION will debut on Sunday, March 14 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET).
THE HELP is an outrageous satire that centers on the class warfare between a group of servants and their employers, the wealthy Ridgeway family. As the unfortunate workers at the beck and call of the demented and dysfunctional family quickly discover, there's not only a class struggle between those who live upstairs and those who toil downstairs, there's also a war for survival of the fittest among "The Help."
THE HELP stars Mindy Cohn ("Facts of Life"), Camille Guaty ("What I Like About You," "The Brothers Garcia"), Brenda Strong ("Everwood"), Keri Lynn Pratt ("America's Sweethearts"), Al Santos ("Grosse Pointe"), newcomer Graham Murdoch, newcomer Marika Domincyzek, Antonio Sabato Jr. ("Melrose Place") and special guest stars Tori Spelling ("Beverly Hills, 90210") and David Faustino ("Married...with Children").
Now beginning its second season on The WB, HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is a dramatic reality series focusing on the intense personal connections that begin in high school and live on past graduation and into adulthood. Seventeen former classmates whose lives, loves and dreams were once intertwined are reunited at a Round Rock (Texas) High School reunion that takes place on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The classmates resolve old rivalries and romances and, in the process, discover if past relationships still have the power to change the future.
THE HELP is from executive producers Ron Leavitt ("Married...with Children," "Unhappily Ever After") and Marty Adelstein in conjunction with Original Productions and Warner Bros. Television Production Inc.
Created by executive producer Mike Fleiss, HIGH SCHOOL REUNION is co-executive produced by Mike Nichols and Jason Carbone and produced by Next Entertainment in association with Telepictures Productions.
(SUR)REALLY BIG RATINGS
"THE SURREAL LIFE" IS TELEVISION'S NEWEST HIT DEBUT OF THE WB'S REALITY/COMEDY SHOW SETS NEW TIME PERIOD RECORDS FOR A SERIES ON THE WB IN SEVERAL KEY DEMOS, INCLUDING ADULTS 18-34 AND PERSONS 12-34
The WB's SURREAL LIFE got off to a phenomenal start on Sunday as it SET TIME PERIOD RECORDS FOR A SERIES ON THE WB IN FIVE KEY DEMOS, INCLUDING ADULTS 18-34 AND PERSONS 12-34, according to fast nationals released by Nielsen Media Research, Inc.
The series, which gives viewers an up-close-and-personal look at six celebrities, and unlikely roommates � Tammy Faye Messner, Ron Jeremy, Erik Estrada, Rob Van Winkle, a.k.a. "Vanilla Ice," Trishelle Canatella and Traci Bingham � attracted 5.3 million viewers, which is the fourth-highest total in the 9:00-10:00 p.m. time slot for a series on The WB.
THE SURREAL LIFE also set time period records in adults 18-34 (3.2), persons 12-34 (2.9), adults 18-49 (2.8), women 18-49 (3.2) and men 18-49 (2.4). The reality comedy also scored the second-highest rating for a series in the time period in women 18-34 (3.7) and men 18-34 (2.6).