News

TBS Shifts WCW Thunder, Pulls Plug on Chimp Channel

12/05/1999 7:00 PM Eastern

TBS Superstation has a number of primetime schedule changes
slated for next month, including a shift of WCW Thunder to Wednesday from Thursday
nights, the removal of The Chimp Channel from its lineup and the start of a movie
night on Thursdays.

TBS, denying the move was prompted by a broadcast
rival's success with Thursday-night wrestling, will shift WCW Thunder to
Wednesdays starting in January. The World Championship Wrestling show, which now airs
Thursdays from 8:05 p.m. to 10:05 p.m., will move to 9:05 p.m. Wednesdays.

WCW Thunder will follow TBS' new hour-long reality
series, Ripley's Believe It or Not, which debuts Jan. 12 on the Wednesday
lineup.

TBS will replace its old Thursday lineup, wrestling and the
original series The Chimp Channel, which has not been renewed, with two
back-to-back films titled Movies for Guys Who Like Movies, a TBS spokeswoman said

TBS is moving WCW Thunder to Wednesdays, where it
will be paired with Ripley's from Columbia TriStar Television Distribution,
so that the wrestling programming will no longer be pre-empted by Atlanta Braves
baseball games, the spokeswoman said. TBS has rights to air 90 Braves games, and a number
of those were on Thursday nights, which resulted in wrestling pre-emptions in those
instances.

But the games won't prove a problem for WCW Thunder
on Wednesday, since ESPN has a deal with Major League Baseball to televise games on
Wednesday nights, the TBS spokeswoman said.

TBS denied it has moved WCW Thunder so it does not
have to compete on Thursday nights with United Paramount Network's new hit, WWF
Smackdown!
.

"It's about our own schedule," the TBS
spokeswoman said. "Wednesday night will have the least interruptions. Our strategy is
about what we can do to have the right flow."

Currently, WCW Thunder is paired with reruns of the
original and much-ballyhooed TBS half-hour series The Chimp Channel, which has been
cancelled, on Thursday nights.

TBS has opted not to greenlight any new episodes of The
Chimp Channel,
which aired at 10:05 p.m.,the TBS spokeswoman said. Thirteen
episodes were produced, and will continue to air until the end of the year. The series
debuted this past summer.

"The show has garnered tremendous attention for the
Superstation and helped further position the network as a destination for entertaining
original programming," the spokeswoman said. "But the show's topicality and
the complexity of the production limited the practicality of an extended run."

The Chimp Channel, about a TV network run by primates
dressed up like humans, was based on TBS' successful Monkey-ed Movie shorts.
In the shorts, chimps and orangutans acted in parodies of theatrical films.

The series drew some flak from animal-rights groups after
its premiere, with activists objecting to the chimps being forced to dress and act like
humans.

In other programming plans, TBS will soon promote its slate
of National Basketball League games on Monday nights, which start Jan. 10, with the slogan
"TBS NBA Monday." The first TBS game will pit Utah Jazz against the San Antonio
Spurs.

Since the National Football League's Monday night
games will be over, TBS sees a chance to fill the void for sports fans, the spokeswoman
said

"On Monday there will be an audience hungry for
sports," she said.

TBS's sister service, Turner Network Television, airs
NBA games on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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