As expected, 'Melrose Place' to be paired with '90210'
The CW will go with the flow in the fall, unveiling a lineup that’s both more cohesive and downsized from past years.
“We have three nights of shows that flow seamlessly from night to night,” CW Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff told advertisers Thursday. “That’s something we’ve never had.”
Dub’s new lineup includes a Tuesday night “90210”/“Melrose Place” pairing that is straight outta the Bush administration era — the first one, that is.
The original “Melrose Place,” which was a spinoff of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” similarly bowed behind that drama when it launched in 1992 on Fox.
The CW will also go with an all-spooky Thursday, bowing drama “Vampire Diaries” at 8 p.m., in the slot currently occupied by “Smallville,” and pairing it with returning drama “Supernatural.”
That means “Smallville,” which is likely entering its final season (although Ostroff said that’s not necessarily the case), will move to Fridays at 8 p.m.
On Wednesdays, as expected, the CW is putting together a fashion-themed night, with “America’s Next Top Model” leading into new Ashton Kutcher-produced drama “The Beautiful Life,” which centers on the world of models in New York.
The only night staying pat is Monday, where “Gossip Girl” and “One Tree Hill” continue.
Ending the week is a “Top Model” repeat, which airs behind “Smallville” on Fridays at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, in what came down to an 11th hour decision, the CW opted to order for midseason the drama “Parental Discretion Advised” (formerly known as “Light Years”), a drama from Liz Tigelaar about a girl who finds her biological parents.
Decision came down to the wire because the netlet had all but agreed to put the 1980s-themed “Gossip Girl” spinoff in the midseason slot. The CW went back and forth on which show to pick up, finally settling on “Parental Discretion” just a day or so before the upfront announcement.
Ostroff said the CW finally picked “Parental” because it was looking to balance out its heavy dose of sudsers with a show lighter in tone.
But she also didn’t close the door on picking up the “Gossip Girl” spinoff; CW will make a decision on that show in the coming weeks.
“We only shot six pilots, and every one of them was a real contender for us,” Ostroff said. “This is the toughest we’ve ever had in figuring out what to pick up… I’d love to find a place (for the spinoff) as the season goes on.”
The CW will once again launch its fall season in early September, as the net hopes to get a jump on the competish by a few weeks.
Meanwhile, as previously announced, the CW is dropping its Sunday lineup in the fall — which takes away three hours out of its primetime, as well as its two-hour Sunday night “Easy View” sked.
The Dub still continues with its two-hour weekday “The CW Daytime” schedule, which is handled by Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution. The block will now consist of a repeat episode of “The Tyra Banks Show” at 3 p.m. (replacing “Judge Jeanine Pirro”), followed by a firstrun “Tyra Banks” at 4 (in place of comedy repeats).
That means, adding up both daytime and primetime, that the CW is in the Tyra Banks business in a big way, airing 12 hours a week from the onetime supermodel.
Beyond the elimination of Sunday, the CW’s schedule is also notable for one more thing it’s lacking for the first time: comedies. Now that its final two laffers, “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Game,” are gone, the netlet has officially shut the door on the sitcom genre. The Dub eliminated its comedy department a while back and will now go forward with an all-hourlong lineup.
“We just couldn’t make a go of it,” Ostroff said. “We had a lot of disappointments in comedy, although we did several shows that we were proud of.”
Also, with the exception of “Top Model,” the Dub’s sked is all completely produced inhouse, as all of its dramas come from the studio arms of either parent (Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios), or in the case of new development, both.
Beyond the comedies, shows gone also include “Privileged” and “Reaper.”
Even with its reduced sked, the CW will still air the same number of original scripted hours as NBC in the fall — eight. (Ostroff mentioned that fact at the presentation, drawing a loud response from the crowd of advertisers.)
Having eliminated its last two African-American led comedies, the CW has also severed most of its remaining ties to network precursor UPN, with the exception of “Top Model.” The CW continues to adopt more of fellow precursor the WB’s narrower, femme-driven strategy (and still includes former WB series “One Tree Hill,” “Supernatural” and “Smallville”). As a result, the CW’s sked looked a lot like how a hypothetical WB lineup might have looked in 2009.
Later, CW chief operating officer John Maatta told reporters that the net’s relationship with key affil group Tribune was “amazingly good” and that the company has been “very transparent” about its bankruptcy.
Maatta also said he believed the upcoming digital transition could benefit the CW more than the other nets. That’s because the netlet right now airs on lower-power UHF affils in some markets and on digital channels in others. Once everyone goes digital, however, those stations all go over the air at essentially the same power — something he calls “the great equalizer.”
The CW opened its presentation with an appearance by “Gossip Girl” star Ed Westwick, in character as Bass Industries CEO Chuck Bass. Westwick-as-Bass went on to describe how his target — young women — mirrors that of the CW.
Here’s the CW’s fall schedule:
Monday – 8 p.m., “Gossip Girl”; 9 p.m., “One Tree Hill”
Tuesday – 8 p.m., “90210”; 9 p.m., “Melrose Place” (new drama)
Wednesday – 8 p.m., “America’s Next Top Model”; 9 p.m., “The Beautiful Life”
Thursday – 8 p.m., “Vampire Diaries” (new drama); 9 p.m., “Supernatural”
Friday – 8 p.m., “Smallville”; 9 p.m., “America’s Next Top Model” (repeats)