Fall TV Preview 2011-12: CW

The word from new CW prexy Mark Pedowitz on his plans for fall: Stay the course.

“Our bread and butter are women 18-34, and to deny that is a mistake,” Pedowitz says. “Our goal is to service them, and then get other age groups to sample us.”

And just what do those women want?

“They want romance,” he says. “They want a man who looks like a man. They want hope, and they want transparency.”

Yet the struggling CW needs to shake things up to get over a severe ratings slump with shows landing not only at the bottom of the major broadcast pile, but also often losing out to Univision and some high-rated cable shows.

Right now, the network’s actual demo centers around 35 — which is close to the same age as “Ringer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar, fondly remembered as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” What Pedowitz hopes to accomplish with “Ringer” and the Rachel Bilson-driven light drama “Hart of Dixie” is to satisfy their younger target group while hoping to draw slightly older women who are already predisposed to liking CW programs.

The CW looks to capitalize on Kevin Williamson’s “The Vampire Diaries” success with another supernatural offering, “The Secret Circle,” which is also based on a series of popular young adult novels.

While the netlet has opened the door for comedies again and maybe even a superhero show, the former ABC exec doesn’t seem to be in any rush to change.

“We’ll move very slowly, very smartly,” says Pedowitz. “We’ll be taking baby steps.”

SPOTLIGHTS

“Ringer”

Snagging Sarah Michelle Gellar probably seemed like an answer to the CW’s ratings prayers. The beloved actress from “Buffy” should bring in a strong initial sampling.

The suspense drama was originally slated for CBS, but fits here better. The premise of a twin taking over the life of her identical sister, unbeknownst to those who know her, is shaky at best. But the sudsy drama filled with seduction and intrigue — not to mention the smoking hot men in her orbit including Ioan Gruffudd, Nestor Carbonell and Mike Colter — could provide an irresistible magnet to the target demo.

NEW FOR 2011-12

“Hart of Dixie”

This fish-out-of-water tale with Bilson as an obnoxious city doctor going country doesn’t have the grit of “House” — which shares the same timeslot on Fox. It could be a hard sell for younger female viewers who are more inclined toward fantasy fare than a sassy version of “The Waltons.”

“The Secret Circle”

The CW creates an appealing spirits-in-the-night block with “The Vampire Diaries” leading into “Secret Circle,” featuring rising star Britt Robertson as a teen who just lost her mother and returns to a spooky hometown filled with witches — discovering she’s one of them. Lots of gossipy good fun and handsome guys like Thomas Dekker.

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