W.E.B. is an American prime time drama series that aired on NBC for five episodes from September 13 until October 5, 1978.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||5|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||20th Century Fox Television|
|Original release||September 13 – October 5, 1978|
W.E.B. showed the inner workings of the TV industry, centering on brash female programming executive Ellen Cunningham (Pamela Bellwood) at fictional network Trans-American Broadcasting. As head of Special Events Programming, Ellen was confronted with a variety of obstacles, most notably her male colleagues, such as ruthless programming head Jack Kiley (Alex Cord), drunken has-been news chief Gus Dunlap (Richard Basehart), and ratings-obsessed research chief Harvey Pearlstein (Lee Wilkof).
The initials that comprised W.E.B. were never explained on the series; presumably, it referred to the fact that "web" is a slang term for a broadcast network. (In promotional spots, the show was called simply "web", not "double-you ee bee".)
W.E.B. was originally scheduled to air on Wednesday nights at 10pm Eastern, and debuted on Wednesday, September 13, 1978. However, new NBC boss Fred Silverman's decision to scrap the proposed hour-long sitcom Coastocoast, originally announced for the Thursday 10pm slot, caused the network to move W.E.B. to Thursdays. It didn't help -- W.E.B. aired just four more episodes, the last on October 5, 1978. It was replaced with the police drama David Cassidy: Man Under Cover.
In a case of life and art imitating each other, W.E.B. was at least partially inspired by the 1976 film Network, starring Faye Dunaway. Dunaway's role in the movie (ratings-mad TV exec Diana Christensen) was said to have been based on NBC's former daytime programming chief Lin Bolen—who produced W.E.B. However, Bolen has denied that the Network character was based on her.