The WB Revived Online!
Post by: Sal
The WB lives on.
Eighteen months after shutting down its TV network that captured the youth zeitgeist with such shows as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek," Warner Bros. Television said Monday that it was resurrecting The WB vibe and moniker on the Internet.
The studio, part of the Time Warner Inc. empire, has been experimenting with ways to parlay its strength in TV programming onto the Web. Although earlier efforts sputtered, Warner Bros. now believes that targeting younger audiences with advertiser-friendly online communities is the most promising strategy.
"I see ourselves as being in the storytelling business, and this is just a different platform to tell stories," says Bruce Rosenblum, president of the Warner Bros. Television Group. "We are developing targeted niche destinations that will fulfill advertisers' appetites."
Its website, TheWB.com, is scheduled to debut in August and will feature episodes of such popular Warner Bros.-produced series as "Friends," "The O.C." and "Gilmore Girls." However, Rosenblum believes that original programming created specifically for the Internet ultimately will be a bigger hit among the under-35 audience that advertisers seek.
Warner Bros. has recruited several producers to develop content for the site, including Josh Schwartz, creator of "The O.C." and McG, director of the "Charlie's Angels" movies. McG plans to team with the producers of the digital series "Prom Queen" for a new show called "Sorority Forever."
The site will feature an application that permits users of Facebook to grab Warner Bros. images to decorate their profile pages without violating the studio's copyright.
Warner Bros. said it would provide its programs to Fancast, the video site of television programming owned by Comcast Corp.
In addition, Warner Bros. is relaunching its children's site, now named KidsWB.com, with Comcast as a distribution partner. Mattel Inc. and McDonald's Corp. have agreed to participate in the venture, which will target children 6 to 12 and draw upon the studio's cartoon characters.