After getting booted off ABC for lackluster ratings, comedian Drew Carey and his pals are heading over to the youth-oriented WB network with a new improvisational comedy show.
“Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” is one of six new programs the WB plans to introduce this fall as part of the prime-time schedule unveiled Tuesday at the network’s annual “upfront” presentation to advertisers.
The WB, owned by Time Warner Inc. and the Tribune Co., is scaling back its sitcom offerings and launching two new dramas, as well as a reality game show, as the 9-year-old network struggles to reverse a ratings decline in its young target audience of viewers aged 12 to 34.
New shows include “Jack & Bobby,” starring Christine Lahti as the single mother of two boys, one of whom is destined to become president of the United States, and “The Mountain,” a family drama set in a posh ski resort.
WB will keep its Monday and Tuesday night dramas intact — “7th Heaven, “Everwood,” “Gilmore Girls” and “One Tree Hill” — while teen superhero adventure “Smallville” remains the anchor of the network’s Wednesday night slate.
The newly departed vampire drama “Angel” will be replaced by a new sketch comedy starring Jeff Foxworthy, “Blue Collar TV,” and “Carey’s Green Screen Show,” a show that borrows much of its cast and comic concept from Carey’s erstwhile ABC improv series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway.”
“Green Screen” will co-star several of Carey’s “Whose Line” cohorts — Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Chip Esten, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, and Jeff Davis, along with Kathy Kinney, who played Carey’s foil, Mimi, on “The Drew Carey Show.”
The performers will act out quirky ideas suggested by the audience, with animated details superimposed on their skits through “green screen” technology.
The WB’s only new fall sitcom is “Commando Nanny,” the first scripted series from reality TV maven Mark Burnett, the man behind “Survivor.”
The show, about a young ex-commando who takes a job as the caretaker of three Beverly Hills rich kids, joins returning Friday night comedies “Reba,” “Grounded For Life” and “What I Like About You.”
The WB is doing away with its two-hour Thursday night comedy block, making way for “The Mountain” and a new reality game show, “Studio 7.”
“Jack & Bobby” joins “Steve Harvey’s Big Time” and ”Charmed” on Sunday nights. The WB remains without prime-time programming on Saturdays.