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Syndie Insider

Reba To Shift to Friday

The WB is moving its three-year-old sitcom Reba to Fridays at 8 p.m. ET this fall, partly to convince studios and top writers and producers that the network can launch comedies that will do well enough to go on to syndication. Many WB affiliates air top off-net comedies—Warner Bros.'Friends
and Will & Grace, Sony's Seinfeld, and King World's Everybody Loves Raymond—in their access spots. The WB Entertainment President Jordan Levin says it makes sense to take advantage of that lead-in on Friday night with Reba, the network's strongest comedy, followed by a comedy block comprising multi-ethnic Like Family
at 8:30 p.m., Carsey-Werner-Mandabach's Grounded for Life at 9 and All About the Andersons, featuring comic Anthony Anderson, at 9:30. The WB is known for its strong, young-skewing dramas, but dramas aren't syndication favorites, and hit comedies in off-net can be a studio's driving revenue stream.

ABC Slates 'Oprah Winfrey Presents'

Daytime's Oprah Winfrey is again bringing her production talent to prime time next year with made-for-TV movie Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God. The adaptation of the Zora Neale Hurston classic, in which an independent woman finds herself outcast in the small Florida town where she lives, will star Halle Berry. ABC plans to air the special during May sweeps 2004. ABC last aired an Oprah Winfrey Presents special in August 2002, with miniseries The Wedding, based on the novel by Dorothy West and also starring Berry.

Daytime Emmys Show Goes Interactive

Viewers of ABC's Daytime Emmys, on which syndicators and daytime broadcasters reap awards for such shows as The Oprah Winfrey Show, were able to participate in various polls via their cell phones, computers or set-top boxes. ABC and The Walt Disney Internet Group's Enhanced TV Group used Proteus's wireless interactive-TV service to allow viewers to choose "Daytime's 10 Most Memorable Moments" after questions were flashed on the screen during the show. Answers were returned to participants quickly via Proteus. Participating cellular carriers included AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Spring PCS and Nextel. The Daytime Emmys aired Friday, May 16 at 8 p.m. ET.