Superman To Take On 'Enterprise'

By Michelle
May 12, 2003 - 4:04 PM

Genre fans will be given a dilemma this fall when The WB's Smallville moves to the Wednesday 8 p.m. timeslot — a move the network was expected to announce at its fall upfront presentation today. Unless UPN changes its schedule, such a move would put the Superman-based series in direct competition for viewers with Enterprise.

According to MediaWeek's John Consoli, The WB will pair Smallville and Angel on Wednesday nights. Variety reported this morning that Angel would bring popular Buffy: The Vampire Slayer actor James Marsters onto the show to reprise his role as Spike, so Wednesday nights on the WB may draw heavily on UPN's target demographics — males 18-49.

"We needed to make a statement in that time period following the departure of Dawson's Creek," said WB entertainment president Jordan Levin. "It has always been a strong time period for us, and we need to lead off the night with a solid and familiar show."

Smallville this season has averaged a 3.75 rating/5.68 share, compared to Enterprise's 2.59/4.12 average. Among the target young male audience for both shows, Smallville is bringing in more than a third more viewers.

Magna Global USA director of audience analysis Steve Sternberg told Media Week that the Smallville move was logical for the WB. "Splitting up Gilmore Girls and Smallville," the current WB Tuesday night lineup, "makes sense", for the shows appeal to different demographics, "and Smallville can be used to help build another night."

By contrast, Enterprise's ratings have declined over the course of this season. Dawson's Creek, which airs its final episode this week, consistently finished last in the ratings in the 8 p.m. time slot among total viewers, occasionally allowing UPN to finish ahead of the WB for the total nightly ratings.

Having a successful comic franchise show competing directly with the Star Trek spin-off is likely to challenge Enterprise further. As previously reported, UPN will not disclose its fall schedule until Thursday of this week, so it is not yet known what competition the network will offer on Wednesdays this fall.

The full MediaWeek article may be found here. Variety's article on Angel is only available to subscribers.

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