The WB Net returns online

Will stream free episodes of shows

Warner Bros. Television Group plans to resurrect WB Network in the form of a new Web site. On the site, whose working title is WB.com, users will be able to catch free streaming episodes of all WB-produced series airing on the net during its 1995-2006 run, including "Gilmore Girls," "Everwood" and "What I Like About You."

It was not immediately known whether WB shows produced by outside studios — among them, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Felicity" and "Dawson's Creek" — would be featured, or whether current Warner Bros. series airing on WB successor the CW, like "Gossip Girl," would appear on the site. Sources told Mediaweek that WB.com will be ad-supported and that in addition to offering past WB series, the site will feature new short series and vignettes targeting the old WB audience, primarily women 12-34.

Each episode will reportedly run five minutes, with 10 installments slated. WB.com will have a beta launch next month, with a major rollout planned for the fall. One source called WB.com Warner Bros.' version of Hulu, the joint NBC Universal/News Corp. online venture offering premium video content from both companies and others.

"We're in the process of developing several Warner Bros.-branded Web destinations and will announce all the details in the coming weeks," Warner Bros. TV Group said in a statement, stopping short of confirming specifics.

The WB and UPN networks merged to form the CW in the 2006-07 TV season, but several WB shows that moved over to the new CW lost audience.

John Consoli is a senior editor at Mediaweek.
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