[06/28/05 - 12:00 AM]
Reba Is the First Show Picked Up for the WB's New Afternoon Block

[via press release from The WB]


Burbank, CA June 28, 2005


The off-network broadcast rights to REBA, the hit Friday night sitcom on The WB, have been sold by Twentieth Television and Twentieth Century Fox Television to The WB as the first show picked up for the network's new afternoon programming block. Under terms of the two-year agreement, beginning in Fall 2006, The WB will double-run REBA, starring Reba McEntire, as an off-net strip from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on over 200 affiliated stations throughout the United States. The announcement was made jointly today by Garth Ancier, Chairman of The WB, David Janollari, President, Entertainment, The WB, Bob Cook, President and COO of Twentieth Television, and Gary Newman, President of Twentieth Century Fox Television.

As a primetime series, REBA is still growing, which bodes well for the afternoon runs. REBA recently completed its fourth season, during which, for the fourth consecutive year, it ranked as The WB's number one Friday night program, as well as its top comedy in viewers, households, adults 18-34, adults 18-49 and viewers 12-34. This season REBA returned to the 9:00 p.m. time period and posted its best season ever in adults 18-49 and women 18-49 and also vastly improved over the prior season's (`03-`04) 9:00 p.m. time period average (primarily �Grounded for Life�), generating a 42% increase in households and 53% improvement in women 18-49.

�The afternoon block is designed to greatly increase our affiliates� 3:00-5:00 p.m. young adult ratings with programming that is compatible with The WB brand, making REBA the perfect show for us to run in our new afternoon programming block,� said Ancier. �We couldn't be happier to have made this deal with Twentieth The show has been a big hit for us for four years, and in that time we have come to know that Reba McEntire is not only a phenomenal actress and singer, but also a wonderful person and a class act in every way.�

�REBA will give our affiliates a great lead-in to their prime access blocks and an excellent promotional vehicle for our primetime line-up,� said Janollari. �The WB has had tremendous success in syndicating our dramas. This deal recognizes our long-term goals of making comedies on The WB as profitable for producers and studios as our dramas.�

Regarding the announcement, Cook stated, �We are very pleased to be the first studio to provide The WB with quality programming that appeals to its target demo for this very important block. REBA has been a proven commodity for The WB with strong crossover appeal for four seasons. Scheduling this comedy as a strip provides the network with a natural bridge to retain viewers from early fringe into access and, ultimately, primetime.�

Newman added, �We are so proud of this fantastic family comedy starring the amazing Reba McEntire, which has performed so well since its very first broadcast. We're gratified that The WB has chosen this quality series to launch its new comedy afternoon schedule, and believe this added exposure will bring even more viewers to its Friday night network runs.�

In the series, McEntire portrays a real estate agent and divorced mother of three who is juggling the demands of her career, being both a parent and grandparent, dealing with her ex-husband and the occasional date in between. The program was named Best Family Friendly Show over two consecutive years by the Parents Television Council. Last year, McEntire garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series � Musical or Comedy.

One of the country's true entertainment treasures, Reba McEntire is a multi-platinum and critically-acclaimed recording artist who has sold more than 48 million albums, won multiple Grammy Awards, 14 American Music Awards and eight People's Choice Awards, including Favorite Actress in a New TV Series for �Reba.� Additionally, her immense popularity crosses over into feature films and television movies; publishing, with the New York Times best-selling novels �Reba: My Story� and �Comfort from a Country Quilt;� and on Broadway, where McEntire lit up the stage with a universally renowned run as the title character in the Irving Berlin musical �Annie Get Your Gun.�

Returning for its fifth season on The WB, the series stars Reba McEntire, Christopher Rich, Melissa Peterman, JoAnna Garcia, Steve Howey, Scarlett Pomers and Mitch Holleman. Kevin Abbott, Mindy Schultheis, Michael Hanel and Matt Berry serve as executive producers. Chris Case, Pat Bullard, Reba McEntire, Patti Carr & Lara Runnells and Don Beck are co-executive producers on the series produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television and Acme Productions.

A leader in the domestic program production and distribution arena, Twentieth Television oversees the domestic sales of one of the most extensive libraries of off-net programming in the entertainment industry. In 2004, it successfully sold and launched the sitcoms �Yes, Dear� and �Malcolm in the Middle,� the highest rated off-net premiere for the 2004-05 season. Currently, the company is distributing the critically-acclaimed and award-winning drama �24,� starring Kiefer Sutherland, for a fall 2005 launch in off-net syndication. Also scheduled to make its off-net debut in fall 2005 is The Peabody Award-winning sitcom �The Bernie Mac Show.� Other programs being slated for future off-net launches include the multi-Emmy Award-winning comedy �Arrested Development,� starring Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia de Rossi and Jessica Walter, among others; �Still Standing,� with Jami Gertz and Mark Addy; David E. Kelly's critically-acclaimed drama �Boston Legal,� featuring James Spader and William Shatner; reality hit �The Simple Life�; and the animated comedy �Family Guy.�

First-run programs distributed by Twentieth Television include the news magazine �A Current Affair,� and the popular court show strips �Divorce Court� and �Texas Justice.� This fall, the company will debut the court strip �Judge Alex.�

  [june 2005]  

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