Laughter and the law

Off-net comedies follow new TV judge on CW

The CW is teaming with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to create a court- and comedy-themed afternoon programming block.

The daily two-hour block, debuting Sept. 22, will feature Telepictures Prods.' new hourlong court show "Judge Jeanine Pirro" at 3 p.m., followed by the Warner Bros. Television off-net comedies "The Wayans Bros." at 4 p.m. and "The Jamie Foxx Show" at 4:30 p.m.

"Pirro" is presided over by Jeanine Pirro, a regular contributor to Fox News Channel, former Westchester County (N.Y.) district attorney and county judge and author. The strip, which has been in the works for several months, will originate from Chicago.

Greg Mathis of Telepictures' court show "Judge Mathis" will serve as executive consultant on the show, while "Mathis" exec producer Bo Banks will serve in that same capacity on "Pirro."

"By pairing 'Judge Jeanine Pirro' with these two successful comedies, we will be providing programming from 3-4 p.m. that is very compatible with the daytime lineup of CW affiliates, and the two sitcoms will provide a good transition to the comedy blocks that affiliates run at 5 p.m.," CW COO John Maatta said. "This lineup was created to better serve the programming mix of our stations with first-run and off-network programming that will increase ratings, revenue and flow."

WBDTD president Ken Werner called Pirro "a fresh face with a distinctive voice," while Telepictures president Hilary Estey McLoughlin said the TV judge has "extraordinary intelligence, empathy, great sense of humor and a desire to make a positive difference in people's lives." (partialdiff)