"Dawson's Creek" -- the show that turned the WB into a bona fide network -- will sail into the sunset this May after five angst-filled years.

The WB plans to air a two-hour "Dawson's" finale May 14.

While other series geared toward young viewers came before it, "Dawson's Creek" came to define the WB's programming strategy, along with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Felicity." The show debuted to the WB's highest-ever ratings in January 1998 and immediately became its No. 1 show among the young audiences that advertisers pay top dollar for.

Created by Kevin Williamson, "Dawson's Creek" also became the WB's first out-of-the-box hit among critics, who began to look at the network (still seen as the home for trashy sitcoms such as "Unhappily Ever After") in a much more positive light.

"We will always carry an emotional attachment to 'Dawson's Creek,' for without it the WB would not exist," said WB Entertainment President Jordan Levin. "The show defined who we are and reflected the aspirational voice of the next generation of television viewers."

Season to date, "Dawson's Creek" is still the WB's No. 2 program among adults 18 to 34 -- its 3.3 rating and 10 percent share of the audience are up 6 percent from last year -- and is its fourth-highest rated series in the 12-to-34 demographic group. In its heyday, the show dominated especially with female teens, where it once pulled an astounding 19.3 rating and 48 share.

The show, which originally took place in a sleepy New England hamlet, now mostly centers in Boston, as the characters grow up and attend college.