The CW will stay out of the fray of the traditional fall season launch period, postponing its new series bows until October.
But that won’t keep the 6-year-old network from introducing three new series before midseason. It’s also set schedule shifts for all of its existing series with the exception of “The Vampire Diaries,” which remains on Thursday at 8 p.m., where it will be a lead-in for the redo of “Beauty and the Beast.”
With his first full year as president of the network almost complete, Pedowitz took to the stage Thursday at the CW upfront presentation in Manhattan’s City Center to reaffirm some of the promises he made when he took the job. He ticked off a list of accomplishments including the addition of 50 hours of original programming in primetime this year and the deployment of the network’s first slate of summer shows.
“That is our big deal for our affiliates, advertisers and audience,” he said, also reaffirming the network’s focus on the 18-34 audience.
The final season of “Gossip Girl” will move to Mondays at 9 p.m., ahead of “90210.” When “Girl” completes its run in January, it will be replaced by “The Carrie Diaries,” an origin story of sorts for the protagonist from HBO’s “Sex and the City.”
Long-running CW franchise “America’s Next Top Model” has been shipped to Friday, where it will be paired with returning drama “Nikita.”
DC Comics adaptation “Arrow” will launch on Wednesdays ahead of “Supernatural.”
Sophomore drama “Hart of Dixie” moves to Tuesday, where it will be paired with another medical-themed series, rookie “Emily Owens, M.D.” (formerly known as “First Cut”).
Joining “Carrie” in midseason is thriller “Cult,” which hasn’t been given a timeslot yet.
Specific premiere dates have yet to be set.
By getting a late start, the network not only avoids the crush of series launches that will come out of the Big Four but also sidesteps a September scheduling nightmare likely to plague all TV nets: the four primetime presidential debates across four consecutive weeks that fall out on four different weeknights (not Friday). That’s a lot of interruption at a time when vulnerable viewing habits are still being formed.
However, none of the Big Four nets have announced similar plans to detour around this primetime minefield.
In a press conference after the upfront with reporters, Pedowitz acknowledged the CW’s ratings declines but suggested Nielsen is behind the curve when it comes to measuring the digital viewership and social-media activity that provide a fuller sense of the netlet’s reach.
Pedowitz said CW is exploring a supplemental research option to Nielsen that could more adeptly track viewing across platforms but he wouldn’t specify who the provider of that measurement is. He did note that the network signed a deal in March with Rentrak to mine data from set-top boxes.
Citing CW’s strong live-plus-seven viewership via DVRs, Pedowitz echoed the call made earlier this week by ABC chief Paul Lee for advertisers to accept C7 ratings (incorporating DVR playback within seven days of a program’s initial telecast) rather than the shorter three-day time frame that is now the industry standard.
Pedowitz also said he’s exploring the possibility of expanding CW beyond its current airtime, which currently extends across five weeknights from 8-10 p.m. He would not say whether he was looking to Sunday, Saturday or pushing past the current time periods on existing nights.
“I think it would be nice to have more than 10 hours a week,” Pedowitz said. “One bad hour can amount to 10% of our schedule.”
CW had a primetime lineup active across six nights including Sunday from 7-10 p.m. for its first three years in operation, the last of which the network farmed out to Media Rights Capital to produce. But when that slate failed, Sunday was handed back to the affiliates.
Before they combined to form the CW in 2006, networks UPN and the WB were open for business in primetime five and six nights a week, respectively.
Pedowitz also chimed in on the growing chorus of network execs airing their concerns during upfront week over Dish Network’s new DVR functionality that strips commercials from broadcast shows watched the day after their airdate. “Long term, it’s a very foolhardy thing,” he said. “They’re biting the hand that provides them the content.”
Pedowitz said the failure of the Sarah Michelle Gellar starrer “Ringer” taught him the value of serialized programming running uninterrupted, prompting him to push “Cult” to midseason and loading fall with the series that have procedural elements that allow for easier sampling, including “Emily,” “Beast” and “Arrow.”
CW hasn’t settled yet on exactly how many episodes of “Gossip” will be ordered for its final run, though it’s safe to say it will be in the 10-13 range.
Though the network passed on “The Selection,” a buzzworthy pilot that drew comparison to “The Hunger Games,” Pedowitz said the series would re-enter development for future consideration. Also not dead: DC Comics adaptation “Dead Man.” He also indicated that he remains interested in developing comedies, and CW could shoot some pilots from the genre later this year, though he didn’t reveal specific projects.
8:00-9:00 p.m. : 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 p.m. : Gossip Girl (New Time)
(The Carrie Diaries premieres January 2013)
8:00-9:00 p.m. : Hart of Dixie (New Night)
9:00-10:00 p.m. : Emily Owens, M.D. (New Series)
8:00-9:00 p.m. : Arrow (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural (New Night)
8:00-9:00 p.m. : The Vampire Diaries
9:00-10:00 p.m. : Beauty and the Beast (New Series)
8:00-9:00 p.m. : America’s Next Top Model (New Night)
9:00-10:00 p.m. : Nikita (New Time)