Upfront Presentation Scorecard: CW – ‘We Suck More’

Let’s face it, young girls love them vampires, and CW couldn’t resist boarding that bandwagon with “The Vampire Diaries.” TV is thus one of those rare fields where the phrase “We suck more” might actually be considered an asset.

 

Yet while CW President Dawn Ostroff certainly made good on her pledge that the fledgling network would exhibit “consistent quality and tone” across its five-night schedule, watching the presentation it felt more like numbing sameness — as if all those new and returning dramas bled into each other, becoming “The Beautiful Vampire Place Girl Diaries.”

 

In addition to dumping Sunday nights, CW has also expunged comedy from its lineup, betting the farm on youth-oriented dramas where everyone is beautiful and chubby gals with glasses need not apply. Fortunately, most of the media buyers at the L.A. closed-circuit screening look like they’d fit right in. (Don’t fight over me, ladies. I’m married.)

 

As for originality, CW certainly qualifies — if by “original” you mean slavishly replicating Fox circa 1993, with the tandem of “90210” and a sleazy-slick revival of “Melrose Place” destined to hold down Tuesday nights. Alas, when “Gossip Girl” star Ed Westwick (as his character Chuck Bass) joked that with the CW shows “most of it works just as well with the sound off,” he might have struck a little too close to the truth for comfort.

 

Working too hard at being hip and techno-friendly, the presentation also foolishly burdened Ostroff with a touch-screen approach that forced her to keep slashing at air with her right hand. Instead of fulfilling the weblet’s new slogan “TV to Talk About,” this gradually became “TV to Giggle At” in the L.A. venue, offering a distraction from the underlying message.

 

So while cohesion might ultimately work for CW — especially with the channel offering more scripted dramas than NBC in the fall — in this concentrated setting the image of a network adhering too single-mindedly to its “brand” prevailed.

 

Overall grade: C+

 

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