CW relies on weblet fare
Upstart netlet the CW will add just one new sitcom and one new drama to its first fall lineup, preferring to rely mostly on returning WB and UPN faves.“Girlfriends” spinoff “The Game” and Darren Star drama “Runaway” scored series pickups, while the Kevin Williamson sudser “Palm Springs” — on tap for midseason — landed an eight-episode greenlight. Bubble shows “Veronica Mars” and “One Tree Hill” also made the cut, with full 22-episode orders. The CW, which will announce its inaugural primetime sked Thursday at Madison Square Garden, also plans to bring back hourlongs “Gilmore Girls,” “Supernatural” and “Smallville” from the WB, as well as half-hours “Everybody Hates Chris,” “All of Us” and “Girlfriends” from UPN. Also, “7th Heaven” is expected to return for an unprecedented 11th season (Daily Variety, May 12). Net has already announced renewals for alternative skeins “America’s Next Top Model,” “Beauty and the Geek” and “Friday Night Smackdown.” Series that failed to make the grade include “Everwood” and “Reba” at the WB, as well as much of UPN’s urban laffer lineup (“One on One,” “Half & Half,” “Eve”). The “Reba” cancellation wasn’t a surprise — the CW informed producer 20th Century Fox last week that the show wouldn’t return, even though the WB had been committed to the show through next year (Daily Variety, May 8). “Everwood,” meanwhile, leaves the air after four seasons and 89 episodes. Also Thursday, the CW is set to officially unveil its new logo. The curvy design takes elements from logos including CNN’s twisty letters and “The OC’s” strategic use of the word “The.” New design, with its curly, connected letters, also is reminiscent of the NBC “snake” logo used by the Peacock web in the 1960s. As for the netlet’s crop of new entries, cherry-picking the WB and UPN skeds left little room for new product — hence the decision to pick up just three new skeins. The CW had anticipated such small needs, having ordered only four drama and three comedy pilots. “Runaway,” from Sony Pictures TV, stars Donnie Wahlberg as a father wrongly convicted of murder. His family decides to go on the run in an effort to clear his name. Leslie Hope, Susan Floyd, Karen LeBlanc and Dustin Milligan also star. The Williamson project, which is still tentatively titled, follows the exploits of a troubled teen who moves to Palm Springs and discovers unusual goings-on. Gail O’Grady, Sharon Lawrence, Amber Heard, Michael Cassidy, Taylor Handley and D.W. Moffett star in the Lionsgate show. As for the comedy, “The Game” focuses on the girlfriends and wives of pro football players. Series, from CBS Paramount Network TV and Grammnet, stars Wendy Raquel Robinson, Hosea Chanchez, Aldis Hodge, Coby Bell and Tia Mowry. The “Veronica Mars” pickup is sure to warm the hearts of the show’s tiny but rabidly loyal fan base, which took to renting planes and sending large care packages to CW Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff in hopes of saving the show. “Mars” may wind up being paired with “Gilmore Girls” on the netlet’s sked. Meanwhile, the CW’s adaptation of “Aquaman,” once considered a shoo-in for fall, wound up being sunk.