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bob bibb and Lew Goldstein are the rarest of TV executives: They not only share the same job title, but the same nickname as well.

Working as a team first at NBC, then at Fox, and now the WB Network, as co-exec VP-marketing, people simply refer to them "Bob-Ba-Lew," owing to the singing refrain Ricky Ricardo made famous while playing the conga on the "I Love Lucy" show.

"Almost every day there is someone who thinks they came up with it," says Mr. Bibb. "I don't get top billing," jokes Mr. Goldstein. "I guess it's alphabetical."


This season, Mr. Bibb and Mr. Goldstein raised the marquee for WB and its shows culminating in an increasingly rare feat -- a rise in ratings. Through Jan. 3, WB has moved up 20% to a 1.8 rating in the key adult 18-49-year-old demographic this season; 18% in adults 18-34 to a 2.0 rating, and 10% in households to a 3.2 number.

Other networks -- NBC, ABC, CBS and UPN -- have declined in all areas for that period.

A quintet of shows has helped WB find a niche among teens and young adults -- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Dawson's Creek," "7th Heaven," "Charmed" and "Felicity."

"The great thing about these shows is that they are a set," says Mr. Goldstein. "You'll notice in our print ads and other areas -- tonally -- they take on the same impression. Even though they are different shows, they feel like they belong together."

While Messrs. Bibb and Goldstein have found a key in making these shows cool for young adults, the marketing efforts don't come off heavy-handed.

Additionally, the marketing keeps the shows accessible to everyone. "That's something that we are very proud of -- we have not closed the door to women 18-34, for example," says Mr. Bibb. "My wife, for instance, doesn't feel she is watching a teen network. We try to make the audience feel like those shows are a reminiscent time in one's life."


Creating "event-like" promotion is one key ingredient for launching recent WB shows.

Since WB isn't a full-fledged network yet, it gets attention with mini-blitzes including special outdoor boards, print campaigns and TV spots for a single show.

WB has done this twice successfully in 10 months: First, with a $5 million marketing push in January 1997 for "Dawson's Creek," then, in the fall of 1998, the magic worked again with "Felicity," which also was up against stiffer competition from other new network shows.

In on-air promos, WB has been incredibly savvy in picking the exact music to stir the emotion of its young audience. For instance pop music diva Madonna allowed one of her songs, "The Power of Goodbye" to be used to promote "Felicity."


Madonna used the show to broaden her marketing reach to a younger audience, while WB used the power of a top-notch recording artist to lure viewers to its new program.

Another song, "I Don't Want to Wait," by Paula Cole, actually rose in popularly due its successful promotional tie-in with another WB hit, "Dawson's Creek." After the song was licensed for the on-air promo spot, series creator Kevin Williamson licensed the song for the show itself.

"We try to tap into an emotion," Mr. Goldstein says. "When we came out of the gate with `Dawson's,' we wanted something that would feel current."

In an unusual co-marketing effort, Mr. Goldstein says, WB began giving short promotional announcements at the end of their shows to tout the albums from record labels.

"This has generated interest among record labels because it has helped sales," he says.

Consumer company tie-ins are also heightening WB's marketing exposure elsewhere. Through tie-in sweepstakes with MCI WorldCom last fall for "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and PepsiCo for "Dawson's Creek," this fall Messrs. Bibb and Goldstein have caught the attention of corporate partners chasing the hard-to-get teen audience.

"Now we have lots of companies knocking on our doors," says Mr. Goldstein.

The two marketing executives' efforts have help contribute to major gains for the network. Jamie Kellner, CEO of WB, speaking with investors at the PaineWebber Media Conference last December, said he expects the network to see a 50% jump during this coming June's upfront ad selling period. For the 1999-2000 season, he expects revenues to soar to $450 million from $300 million this year.

Mr. Kellner expects the network will break even the year after.


At its launch back in January 1995, the two marketing executives came up with an icon to establish WB with its potential audience -- Michigan J. Frog, a Chuck Jones-developed animated character from the 1940s used in a few Warner Bros. theatrical shorts. Since the character wasn't really associated with any Warner Bros. properties, Messrs. Bibb and Goldstein thought it was a prime choice to be used as a mascot for the new network.

"Having worked at NBC for so many years, we realized the value of the peacock," says Mr. Bibb. "It represents that we are kind of offbeat -- that we don't take ourselves too seriously."

This leaves just one mystery surrounding the duo's history -- who coined the name "Bob-Ba-Lew?" The answer? Even they don't know.

Mr. Bibb could only say: "I remember we were sitting on a couch, waiting to see NBC-TV promotions executives Steve Sohmer and John Miller at NBC, and someone

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