Often the industry joke (well, besides NBC and MyNetworkTV), The CW unveiled four new shows during its upfront presentation Thursday in New York City at Time Warner Center. CW’s upfront was tailored to their young-female audience – flashing lights, a musical act no one over the age of 35 can’t stand, and other hip, happening stuff. The only problem is – what young female audience? CW’s shows are regularly beaten by fare on ABC Family and MTV in this demo, and that’s hardly a cause for celebration. But Tribune and Sinclair are committed to the network despite the ratings woes – plus, CW has Mark Pedowitz as the new network president, replacing Dawn Ostroff. And besides, if The CW weren’t around, Tribune stations might air something a lot worse in prime-time – like Bill Cunningham’s new talk show.
And so, CW rolled out a schedule with some changes: two notable ones is the permanent removal of Hellcats from the lineup and the retirement of Smallville after ten seasons on the air. Here’s what to expect this fall (new shows are in CAPS):
8 pm Gossip Girl
9 pm HART OF DIXIE
8 pm 90210
9 pm RINGER
8 pm H8R
9 pm America’s Next Top Model
8 pm The Vampire Diaries
9 pm THE SECRET CIRCLE
8 pm Nikita
9 pm Supernatural
CW is adding four new series – three dramas, one reality show, and once again, no sitcoms. Mondays have Gossip Girl leading in to Hart of Dixie, a series about a young female doctor who heads to a small town in Red State territory. 90210 returns to Tuesday night, followed by Ringer, led by former Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar (this was originally a pilot for CBS, but the network passed.) Wednesdays is all-reality night with H8R followed by a revamped America’s Next Top Model. Thursdays has new sci-fi drama Secret Circle leading out of established hit The Vampire Diaries. To make room for Circle, Nikita shifts to Friday to pair up with Supernatural and to face-off against rival cult show Chuck.
Being held for midseason are reality series The Frame and Re-Modeled and veteran drama One Tree Hill, which is ending next season.
For detailed descriptions of CW’s new 2011-12 programming, click here.
You have to question why CW is launching two series behind “veteran” series 90210 and Gossip Girl – these two shows are about as highly rated as WFLD’s Good Day Chicago. Feel sorry for Hart of Dixie and Ringer – both are actually look promising and definitely a step away from the My Super Sweet 16-type of programming. But with such inadequate lead-ins, both Dixie and Ringer are going to have a hard time finding an audience.
Props to CW for finally expanding their reality TV presence – but with H8R (whatever that means)? Odd choice, since the major broadcast networks have gravitated away from this type of reality programming. The only achievement H8R will earn is landing in The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall Of Shame. Top Model’s new slot gets away from Survivor and the upcoming X Factor, but like Survivor, Top Model is heading the gimmick route to boost ratings. Don’t be surprised if Tyra Banks sends the model cast-offs over to Redemption Island.
Secret Circle is a perfect fit on Thursdays with Vampire Diaries, while Nikita has a decent chance of succeeding on Fridays, given the night’s lower expectations.
Mark Pedowitz definitely has his work cut out for him, bless his heart. But with several declining veteran series still on the air (sans Vampire Diaries), it’s going to be another long season for The CW.