David Wiebe Director of Development/Programming, Kids' WB!
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Fast Track Session 2

David Wiebe is the Director of Development for Kids’ WB! where he oversees development for both animated and live-action properties. Mr. Wiebe also handles current programming responsibilities for the Network’s hit series The Batman as well as upcoming fall series The Loonatics Unleashed and Johnny Test. Mr. Wiebe has been on both the buying and selling sides of the business. He began his career as a coordinator at Nickelodeon before moving onto Nelvana where he oversaw development of both long-form and comedy properties. He joined Kids’ WB in 2003 and has spearheaded the network’s network’s evolution towards comedic properties to compliment its traditional action-adventure format.

Meet with David at Fast Track Session 2 (Thursday, September 22, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

1. What are your animation programming blocks and the audience demographic for each?
Broadcasting 14 hours a week, Kids’ WB!’s primary programming block airs Saturday mornings from 8am-12pm ET / 7-11am PT. Beginning January 2006, Kids’ WB! will expand its Saturday morning lineup, considered primetime for kids’ programming, from four to five hours, airing 7am- 12pm ET/PT). Kids’WB!’s core target audience is Kids 6-11, with Kids 2-11 as the secondary target audience.

2. How many hours do you program per year?
250 hours per year

3. How many hours of new programming do you acquired per year?
Approximately 80 (160 half-hours) / Roughly 150

4. Where do you generally find your new shows?
There is no exact recipe. Many shows come to us from production companies/studios, including our sister company WarnerBros Animation, Sony Pictures Television and Nelvana, to name a few. However, we also look to develop properties from comic books, novels, video games, etc. We’ve also had unattached writers/animators come in and pitched us original concepts, which wehave optioned and developed in-house.

5. What are some of your recent acquisitions?
Loonatics Unleashed (WBA)Johnny Test (WBA), Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island (WBA), Viewtiful Joe (Geneon/CapCom), The JammX Kids (Lightforce Entertainment)

6. What kinds of shows are you currently looking for?
We're currently looking for both action-adventure series as well as wacky kids' comedies. There's room for both kinds of shows on our schedule as we're creating a television home where kids can watch a variety of different genres and styles. Regardless of the genre, unique characters are the most important element. Kid-relatable comedy and drama should always stem from character rather than situation or contrivance.

7. What are you NOT looking for?
In the action-adventure category, we're NOT looking for something that is so serious and serialized that a viewer must be overly familiar with the series and have seen every episode in order to enjoy the show. Additionally, since this is kids’ programming, our Broadcast Standards are very stringent and we do not air anything that includes immitatible violence, guns, sex (or sexual innuendo) or other taboo situations (for example, drinking or cursing).

In the comedy department, we are NOT looking for properties that take place in school or center around either "slice of life" or "coming of age" themes. We're also not looking for properties based around a band or rock group regardless of the music industry connection.

8. Have there been, or will there soon be, changes to your development/programming structure?
We have implemented a powerhouse programming slate with a great blend of action-adventure series and character-driven original comedies. This is our current strategy. However, we're always on the lookout for International acquisitions as well.

9. What new shows/ technologies/ approaches are you excited about?
As leaders in innovative animation, we’ve launched the most successful animé shows in television history and introduced the first-ever all-Flash animated series (¡Mucha Lucha!). Working with some of the most cutting-edge producers in the animation industry, together, we will continue to push the technical boundaries for our series as we are committed to embracing new technologies. With that said, we do not look at a propert because of the technology used, but rather at the unique design and style that brings the series and storylines to life. We’ve had groundbreaking CGI series which had a mixed response from our audience relating to the human characters; we introduced the first-ever Flash animated series on television – as Flash can be a challenge, it also can offer a unique look and style not overly-used. Korea is starting to emerge as an Animation leader in terms of their own domestic product with both storytelling and technology creatively used to enrich the story rather than supplant it.