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Alice’s Take - Round Two
I’m thinking outside the box this time (or at least farther than I did before). As I mentioned in the intro, Deadline.com has it that The CW could very likely pick up 6 out of it’s 8 ordered pilots. “Arrow” and “The Carrie Diaries” are sure things, “The Selection,” “Beauty and The Best” and “First Cut” are very strong, “Cult” is strong as well but they’re considering something a little different with that one. They want to do an uninterrupted cable format. We have heard nothing about "Shelter" and "Joey Dakota" so who knows if they're still in contention or not. TVLine is also liking "Nikita's" and "Hart of Dixie's" chances now.
That’s where my thinking twists. The CW’s biggest limitation, and the one that Mark Pedowitz aims to fix especially now that he has some revenue coming in from the Netflix and Hulu deals, is that the network goes practically dark when its shows go into reruns. There are too many holes in the schedule and not enough shows to fill slots. Most reality shows have failed them, and even “America’s Next Top Model” isn’t what it once was. The network also exists to build a catalog of youth oriented TV shows for it's parent companies, CBS and Warner Brothers. WBTV President Bruce Rosenblum recently said at a conference that all of the WBTV shows are recovering deficits on the international market. That holds favorably for any WB show on the bubble.
As I mentioned on this site with my article on the new CW online model
, recently it was revealed that the 20% of The CW’s viewers are online. That makes a nightly schedule practically obsolete for those viewers. It all becomes about content. More content seems to be the name of the game. So if 6 new series are ordered, then expect a lot of shows aired at various times to do 13 episode runs.
“Cult” is a prime candidate to be a mid season show running uninterrupted for 13 episodes. That would certain follow a cable mentality, and that wouldn’t hurt The CW at all. The network has already proven that it can’t take on the big four networks head on, unless that show is “The Vampire Diaries.” They want to have their content available outside the traditional network model. So, I suspect that most bubble shows will get a chance with only 13 episode orders, and several timeslots will be split between two shows during the season.
In recreating my schedule, first I must list my “fixture” shows. They're the ones that will maintain a slot and be rerun in regular periods (for the most part). Those fixture shows for returning shows are “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural,” and “America’s Next Top Model.” That will be it. As for new series, “Arrow,” “The Carrie Diaries,” and “The Selection” also look like fixture shows.
“Gossip Girl” will be renewed, but in a very curious twist their showrunner, Josh Safran, has just been tapped to run “Smash” over at NBC. So who’s running the show? That’s a very good question. “Supernatural” just got a new showrunner, but it’s former producer Jeremy Carver who left his own show on SyFy to come back and co-run the series. I heard a new production team has been hired, so chances are they aren’t coming in for just a one season deal in mind. If “Gossip Girl” brings on someone who’s committed to extending the franchise into new territory, it might get that 22 episode season and a regular slot on the schedule. Creatively the show has really dipped, so it would need that new renaissance to continue beyond 13 episodes. If they just want to limp to the finish line, look for “Gossip Girl” to have a 13 episode order and likely run in between cycles of “America’s Next Top Model.”
I’ve got “90210” coming back, just because I don’t see CBS Studios turning down the chance for them to hit 100 episodes. I’m definitely not looking for them to bill it to be a last season either. Most shows are written for six season contracts, so I’d imagine that is the goal of that show right now. I don’t think “90210” brings a lot of strength to the CW lineup, and the concept is likely tired for this network by now. Still, it gets enough viewers, and it is one of the highest rated in 18-34 women. I’m moving it to Wednesdays with “America’s Next Top Model.” It’s lighter fare that seems to work there.
After talking with “Nikita’s” showrunner/executive producer Craig Silverstien at C2E2 a few weeks ago,
I actually like “Nikita’s” chances now. Silverstein hasn’t heard from the network one way or another, but he said that he won renewal last year by going in after filming the season finale and giving the network a great pitch for season two. He said he has a great pitch for season three. He found out his show was renewed two days before upfronts last year, and expects to get the news in that time frame again this year.
“Nikita” is an interesting dilemma because even though the demo rating makes it one of the lowest rated shows on the network, overall ratings are better than a lot of shows including “Gossip Girl.” There are people out there who watch the show, but they just aren’t the targeted CW youth demo. “Nikita” earns the least in ad revenue than any other show on the network. However, “Nikita” makes decent money with international distribution for Warner Brothers and it does bring something different to the CW lineup. I predict that “Nikita” will get renewed, but as a midseason show. Either that or The CW will air repeats on Fridays for the first six weeks along with “Supernatural” to promote their new shows and will bring “Nikita” back at a later date. I still can’t predict if it will get a 13 or 22 episode order at this rate. I say either way, it will be filling time slot gaps (likely Friday’s) and will not be repeated. "Nikita" works with "Supernatural" only because with "Supernatural's" built in fan base, that show doesn't need a strong lead in. I actually agree with Silverstein's comments that they should flip "Nikita" and "Supernatural" but they won't. The network isn't going to mess with something that actually works. They have so few successes right now. "Supernatural" owns 9 pm.
“The Secret Circle” has a big problem. It’s tanking. In the last few weeks, it’s been getting “Ringer” type ratings. Lucky for them, they’ve tanked later than “Ringer” did. Still, the network has a huge concern that if it gets that kind of ratings after getting the plum “The Vampire Diaries” lead in, then how is it going to survive with another slot? That’s a damn good question. I’ve heard from people actually watching the show that it’s gotten better creatively, but they have a problem with cast chemistry. Their survival highly depends on how well Andrew Miller and Kevin Williamson (who has other priorities at Fox right now) pitches a new season. I don’t think it’s strong enough to make it on a Friday on its own. I’ve definitely got “The Secret Circle” down for a half season run, sharing with “Cult.” Or, it just might end up sharing Fridays with “Nikita”. Either way, it’s not running in a solid slot all year.
I think “Hart of Dixie” would be another great midseason show. You don’t need to be watching that show every week to know what’s happening, so it can fill in slots very easily. The question is, will The CW want it? Don’t know. Again, it’s going to depend on a creative plan. I don’t know how the show is doing internationally, so I’m not sure what will be the deciding factor in saving it, other than it’s versatile for midseason.
“Ringer” is gone. The concept didn’t relate to audiences, and Sarah Michelle Gellar couldn’t save the all over the map writing. I keep reading that The CW is going to cancel two shows, but I don’t see why they have to. They have plenty of spots to fill. If they truly pick up six series, I sincerely doubt all six will succeed. Holding onto existing shows for insurance, or to see if they maintain online viewing would be a wise move. After all, The CW is supposed to be venturing into brave new territory with online viewing.
So, here’s my totally arbitrary starting Fall schedule. It think there will be a ton of shifting in the schedule through the season and there will be far less repeats. New shows will be repeated more on different nights in attempts to expose these new shows to different viewers. The days of going mostly dark in December, January, and March could be a thing of the past.
8 pm - “Beauty and the Beast”
9 pm - “The Carrie Diaries”
8 pm - “Arrow”
9 pm - “The Secret Circle”/”Cult” (Midseason)
8 pm - Repeats of new shows/”90210”
9 pm - “America’s Next Top Model”/”Gossip Girl” (in between ANTM cycles)
8 pm - “The Vampire Diaries”
9 pm - “The Selection”
8 pm - Repeats of new shows/“Nikita”
9 pm - “Supernatural”
“Hart of Dixie”
Chances are both Sablegreen and I will give one more prediction before upfronts. Or maybe not. Okay everyone, your turn! Has your mind changed at all in light of new information? Share your schedule, or tell us what you think of ours.