CW nixes screeners for ‘90210’

Critics, reporters denied sneak peek of soap

TV critics and reporters waiting for a glimpse of the CW’s highly anticipated “90210” redux are going to have to wait a bit longer.

In a move already upsetting crix — who are used to viewing heavily hyped scripted skeins beforehand — the CW has decided not to send DVDs of the show out before its Sept. 2 launch.

“The CW and our studio partner CBS Paramount Network Television have made the strategic marketing decision not to screen ‘90210’ for any media in advance of its premiere,” the network and studio said in a statement. “We’re not hiding anything … simply keeping a lid on ‘90210’ until 9.02, riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time.”

But the CW and CBS Par’s insistence that they’re “not hiding anything” has led to critic speculation that, well, they’re doing exactly that.

“By refusing to send screeners of the ‘90210’ premiere to critics, the CW has aroused deep suspicions,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Gail Pennington wrote on her website, under the headline, “How much does the new ‘90210’ suck?”

The CW and CBS Par are apparently taking a page from the movie marketing handbook, where features that aren’t destined to be adored by critics are frequently not screened for press before release.

“90210” is already generating a zip code’s worth of interest (thanks in part to the who’s-returning-and-who’s-not-from-the-original-cast speculation) without any reviews; the network and studio probably feel as if reviews would only hurt that stream of press and publicity.

Move also comes as crix and TV reporters continue to voice frustration over a lack of fall pilot screeners so far from most of the nets. The CW, meanwhile, does plan to send out tapes of its other new show, “Privileged,” within the next 10 days.

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