CW hopes to continue momentum into 2014-15

cwBut Tribune CEO throws cold water on party

The CW unveiled its 2014-15 schedule to advertisers Thursday, but it was Tribune CEO Peter Ligouri who really stole the show.

On the same day CW revealed its fall lineup, Ligouri said at the Moffer Nathanson Media and Communications Summit that he is “not pleased where the CW is” despite the fact the eight-year old network recently finished up the 2013-14 season with its largest audience in 3 years, according to Deadline. He added CW “should not program to (young) people who don’t watch television.” Ligouri said its time for him to “get a seat at the table” and to “put some of my content on there.”

Last month, WGN America (Tribune’s Superstation) launched its first original drama (Salem) and is launching another one (Manhattan), on June 27.

Another huge problem for The CW is sports pre-emptions, notably on WGN here in Chicago, where the station owns the broadcast rights to the Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, and Blackhawks – the latter signed an extension Thursday to continue airing 20 games a year over WGN during the 2018-19 season (it should be noted Hawk games air mostly on weekends and do not effect CW programming.)

Peter Ligouri is not happy with The CW.
Peter Ligouri is not happy with The CW.

Outside of CBS, Tribune Broadcasting is the largest group of CW affiliates in the country, followed by Sinclair Broadcasting, who has expressed similar concerns about their ratings. If CBS and Warner (partners in The CW) can’t satisfy their station groups’ needs, then it may be a long two years ahead, as affiliate contracts come up for renewal in 2016.

But the show must go on, and The CW unveiled four new series for the 2014-15 season – with two of them debuting this fall.

Monday nights has one of those new shows, new drama Jane The Virgin (yes, that’s the title), being paired with The Originals. This is followed on Tuesdays with the other new shows (The Flash), paired with ten-season vet Supernatural. While Wednesdays and Thursdays remain unchanged, Fridays have Whose Line Is It Anyway paired with America’s Next Top Model.

Midseason shows include Rob Thomas’ iZombie, Messengers, and the return of Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast. 

To see the full schedule, click here.

Analysis: When you see CW’s 2014-15 lineup, you begin to see what Peter Ligouri is talking about. How many people here thought America’s Next Top Model was still on the air? And why is Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast coming back? And its returning shows are only going to lose audience, as they age while Jane The Virgin looks like the worst show of the season.

On the upside, Flash is getting another chance after the last version never really got a chance at CBS during the 1990-91 season. Rob Thomas’ iZombie looks like a winner, but have no idea what Messenger is all about.

Yes, The CW’s ratings have increased three seasons in a row, but it means little if affiliate partners – Tribune Broadcasting and Sinclair Broadcasting notably – aren’t happy with the direction of the network.

Should be an interesting two years ahead.