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WB Boosts Budget

After a season that The WB Television Network executives readily admitted was tough, May produced some highlights for the young-adult network.

The season finales of 7th Heaven, Everwood, Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill all hit highs for the network. The finale of Everwood, for instance, scored an all-time series record among women 18-34, while the show also hit season highs in several key demos.

All six of The WB's dramas (7th Heaven, Everwood, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Smallville and Charmed) saw share growth among adults 18-34 from February to May.

This summer, The WB will start implementing some changes. They include a move toward the year-round programming model being adapted virtually industrywide, slating more reality shows, and running series in consecutive episodes then turning the time period over to other shows rather than running repeats.

To do that, The WB has "increased our programming budget, recognizing that younger dramas don't repeat very well," says Jordan Levin, The WB's CEO, during a conference call on the season and sweeps.

"When we constructed the program budget this year, we took into account the low ratings that repeats do," says Garth Ancier, The WB's Chairman. "And we might look to some of our summer development to wheel in with one of our established dramas at 9 pm on Monday and Tuesday."

In addition, The WB is asking producers to construct story arcs that will run nine-to-ten episodes to fit in with the network's new programming model.