Dawn Ostroff

CW topper offers network true identity

After a ho-hum freshman year, the CW is poised to come into its own this season, thanks to perhaps the most-talked-about lineup of new shows on any network — and the working mom who runs the web.

That would be Ostroff, the Brooklyn native who was given less than a year to fashion a whole new network out of the remnants of UPN and the WB. Not surprisingly, viewers yawned, resulting in a tough year for an exec used to success at her previous UPN and Lifetime gigs.

Ostroff stuck out the storm, however, and focused intensely on finding shows that would finally define the CW as a net for young people, especially younger women who were already fans of the net’s reality hits “America’s Next Top Model” and “Beauty and the Geek.”

The results? A spicy sudser (“Gossip Girl”), potentially the coolest supernatural show since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (“Reaper”) and a comedy that’s actually funny and relevant (“Aliens in America”).

Of course, good buzz doesn’t always translate into ratings (ask the producers of “The Nine” or “Studio 60”). If the CW doesn’t manage to end the season with at least one unmistakable success, the net’s co-owners (CBS Corp. and Warner Bros.) will no doubt get a little anxious.

But for now, it appears Ostroff may have finally found a way to give the CW what it needs most: an identity.

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