A year after its steady but unspectacular launch, the CW heads into fall with possibly the most mojo of any net.
While the other webs have just one or two new shows making noise, the CW could see its fortunes rise this season thanks to several frosh entries, including “Reaper,” “Gossip Girl” and “Aliens in America.”
“We’re looking ahead, focusing on the future and creating new hits that will further define our young adult audience,” says CW Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff. “The key to our future and success is in our shows.”
The weblet also may finally have a few more reality players to join “America’s Next Top Model” and “Beauty and the Geek” on its roster, including the mom-and-daughter pageant-themed “Crowned,” which earned big laughs at the net’s upfront presentation, and the quirky “Farmer Wants a Wife.”
Meanwhile, with more reality shows on the bench, as well as the return of “One Tree Hill,” the CW hopes to keep the lights on in spring — as opposed to last year, when too many reruns tripped the network up.
“We want to be the entertainment destination for young adults,” Ostroff says.
SPOTLIGHT: GOSSIP GIRL/REAPER
Fans of Fox’s gone-too-soon “The OC” can stop their mourning, too: While “GG” is a bit different in tone, it taps into the same sudsy vein, serving up a frothy blend of melodrama and humor.
Skein, based on a popular book series, is centered on a group of impossibly rich Manhattanites obsessed with social status and trading dirt about each other via electronic devices.
Newport Beach, Capeside and a certain zip code in BevHills all seem quaint compared with the world of teen treachery and adolescent intrigue created by Josh Schwartz and “OC” collaborator Stephanie Savage.
If “Gossip Girl” is the CW’s take on “Dawson’s Creek,” this show aims to be the Green net’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” It’s about a dude who discovers he’s obligated to become Satan’s bitch, chasing down souls who’ve somehow escaped from hell. As long as future episodes keep up the balance of humor and horror, this should be a big hit, at least on a cult level.
NEW FOR 2007-08
Aliens in America
A geeky high school kid hopes to become instantly cool when his parents sign up to host a foreign exchange student. That dream dies when the new kid turns out to be a Muslim teen. What could’ve been a xenophobic disaster in the hands of some nets (hi there, Fox) ends up being one of the sweetest, smartest half-hours in years.
CW Now/Online Nation
Two different shows with one purpose: Replace repeats with low-cost original fare that’s attractive to advertisers. “CW Now” is an “Entertainment Tonight”-like pop culture magazine that will also offer supposedly subtle product placement. “Online Nation,” meanwhile, aims to be the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” for the FunnyorDie generation. Give the CW credit for not just throwing on more repeats.
Life Is Wild
Dad uproots kids to Africa to live in the jungle. Kids whine, but soon enough, they’re awed by the majesty of it all. Blended family starts getting along better, and everyone is happy. Somewhere, Aaron Spelling smiles.