Network expands to a sixth night with its all-drama lineup
The CW recently unveiled its 2018-19 lineup before its upfront presentation on Thursday and features five new shows – two of them debuting this fall.
The big news is The CW’s return to Sunday nights for the first time since 2009, as reported here in February. The night kicks off with a relocated Supergirl from Mondays, followed by a completely new version of former The WB series Charmed. Unlike the other broadcast networks who start the evening at 6 p.m. (CT), The CW plans to only program from 7-to-9 p.m. (CT) with the 6 p.m. slot remaining with affiliates to program themselves. ABC, CBS, and NBC have programmed the 6 p.m. hour in full since 1975 and Fox since its inception (the Big 3 actually programmed the slot until 1971, when the now-defunct prime-time access rule forced the networks to give back part of the Sunday hour back to the affiliates.)
“It is such an exciting time at The CW. We are thriving, innovating, and now we’re expanding, adding Sunday nights to our primetime lineup this fall, said The CW President Mark Pedowitz. Starting in October, we will have 12 hours of original scripted series on our schedule – more than any other broadcast network besides CBS.”
Pedowitz also added: The CW is bigger, and better than ever before, with more quality content and more ways for advertisers to connect with our valuable young audience, on every platform.”
Relocating to Monday nights to take Supergirl’s place is D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow, followed by Arrow in a new time slot. Tuesdays remain unchanged from midseason with The Flash and Black Lightning. Wednesdays nights features returning Riverdale and new drama All American, based on a true story about a Beverly Hills high school football coach who recruits a standout from Compton.
Thursdays has veteran Supernatural leading into new series Legacies. The description of the new show was quite skimp, but it seems to be similar in vein to The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Finally, Friday has Dynasty and Crazy Ex- Girlfriend (more on this series below.)
Midseason enteries include new drama In The Dark and Roswell, New Mexico, a sequel to the former The WB and UPN series (both networks merged to form The CW in 2006.)
To see the new fall schedule, click here.
While some can scoff at The CW’s sub-one ratings, keep in mind these shows have a larger fan base than you think as many viewers watch via other means, including The CW App and most shows have strong social media followings. The network has the lowest median age of any broadcast network, and that makes it very valuable to advertisers at a time when the rest of the broadcast business – including CW affiliates themselves outside of prime-time – is skewing older. And while Dynasty in theory should be canceled due to nearly non-existent ratings, strong international sales keeps the show on the air.
The CW’s Sunday lineup could achieve the same lackluster results the network achieved in 2008 when it leased the night to Media Rights Capital with awful product. At least Supergirl is proven and so is Charmed…in a way. Plus, the ratings achieved by those forgettable shows back then are more acceptable now.
The CW also announced three of their veteran series are retiring next season: iZombie, Jane The Virgin, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The mutual decision to end the latter show is puzzling; only 44 episodes in three seasons have been made and there should be more stories to tell – but then again, I’m not the showrunner. Stability seems to be the key word here as only Valor and Life Sentence were dropped. But The CW will soon have to develop new programming to replace several departing shows in 2019, and it won’t be an easy feat.
On another note, The CW will open the season in October with the iHeartRadio Music Festival, despite the radio conglomerate in bankruptcy proceedings. Though The CW did not comment further on the two-night extravaganza, its future seems secure for now. As they say, the show must go on.
In lieu of official trailers, clips of new CW programming can be viewed here.