|Round Two: CW Schedule Speculation, Predictions and Analysis|
New information has come out recently as finished pilots are being sent to the networks, and prediction lists for renewal or cancellation are becoming more refined. Deadline.com on Friday did their latest Hot List Update, and they have reports on six of the eight CW pilots. There's indication that The CW might actually pick up six shows. TV Line finally updated their Renewal Scorecard List for The CW, and their intel is rather interesting.
After doing a round one, Sablegreen and I have taken a new look at our lists and come up with a "round two" analysis of The CW shows. As of print of this article, only "America's Next Top Model" has been officially renewed. Sablegreen's analysis is first, and then mine. As usual, we are on very different wavelengths!
Sablegreen's Take - Round Two
As they have already renewed “America's Next Top Model”, and assuming they are also sticking with 10 hrs of TV a week that leaves 9 hrs open. As for shows the CW will renew, I’m going with “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural,” “90210,” and “Gossip Girl” (unfortunately).
TVD," "SPN" and "90210" are CW’s 1st, 2nd and 4th highest rated shows on the network. They are also the networks veteran shows and as the CW is struggling with their new shows, I can’t see the veterans going anywhere. And of these shows that don’t do well in live viewers, they do well very well with DVR stats which have sometimes doubled their broadcast ratings.
It’s a shame they will waste a good show for “Gossip Girl,” but if it is making them money, even with poor rating, they will keep it. The show actors have one more year on their contracts, the advertisers have one more year on their contract and CW had shown a tendency to be fond of "farewell" seasons for veteran shows (“Smallville,” “One Tree Hill”), and those two farewell seasons have been well rated by CW standards. Also as for its rating, though low, they are not the lowest shows on the CW. CW would have to cancel 5 scripted shows for GG to be in danger and while uncommon, it’s not unheard of.
“The Secret Circle” is the 3rd highest rated show on the network and while it’s ratings has taken a dip in recent weeks that is not uncommon this time of year. The show has done reasonably well for 90% of the season. Besides, while renewal notices have not been released, decisions to renew or cancel have already been made. And with the shows good performance most of the season, I’m think the show will be back.
That brings us to “Ringer”, “Nikita” and “Hart of Dixie.”
The CW will likely cancel at least two dramas currently on its schedule, “Ringer’s” ratings are the lowest on the network for shows in the Monday-Thursday schedule. I can’t see it being renewed in any way shape or form. So I’m calling it canceled.
“Nikita” ratings are lower than “Hart of Dixie” but it’s on Friday nights so it gets extra consideration because of the expected lower viewing audience Friday normally has. It has also been renewed twice before, so it would start its 3rd season getting it closer to a point where syndication would be possible, and that is when a show starts making money. Also Nikita, like SPN is owned by Warner Brothers which also owns half of CW….CBS the other half. Hence the CW’s biggest job, is to create value in shows for its parent networks so that they can then license them elsewhere (DVDs, Netflix, etc) and that requires getting enough episodes to make syndication a possibility. So if they pickup Nikita for a third season, it’s understood they would pick it up for a fourth, sort of ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ concept.
Question is does the CW want to invest all that money on a show with sinking ratings. It’s possible it could be so bad by the end of s3 they would have to cancel it anyway, and then the money loss would be greater.
I can’t see it coming back unless the CW doesn’t pick up three pilots, and it is suspected that it might pick up as many as 4. It also has been shown that "Nikita" is not a good lead in for SPN and there really is no place to put the show except on Friday nights. Its ratings would be even worse on any other night. "Nikita" EP Craig Stevens recently mentioned he’d like to see "Nikita" after SPN which would certainly be better, but with SPNs TV rating, it doesn’t seem to be able to be on any earlier. I just can’t see "Nikita" being renewed so I’m calling it canceled.
Hart of Dixie" ratings are higher than "Nikita," but not by much. In fact, after you factor in the ‘Friday allowance’ for Nikita, the shows to me are about the same. Hart of Dixie is in its 1st season, nowhere near the magic ‘syndication’ number, and it doesn’t seem to have an affiliation with WB. It does seem to have a loyal following and giving it a second chance doesn’t mean it has to be given a third. It could logically still be followed by a cancellation. I’m thinking if the CW does pick up 4 pilots, Hart of Dixie will be cancelled. If it picks up 3, the series will get a second chance.
As for the pilots, CW is sticking with hour-long dramas directed at young and/or genre-friendly audiences. It is also trying to increase its viewer audience by selecting pilots with built in audience bases, as five of the eight contenders are adapted, either from comic books, other shows or novels. ("Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast," "The Carrie Diaries," "Joey Dakota" and "The Selection"). I’m told early word from Deadline is that "Arrow" and "The Carrie Diaries" are going to be picked up, "Beauty and the Beast" is likely to be also and "Cult "and "First Cut" are picking up momentum.
I can see "Arrow." It’s based on a DC comic book, and those have always done well with the younger audience. And it is one I would try. "The Carrie Diaries" is based on a book by Candace Bushnell about a younger teenager’s exploits as she comes of age in the '80s. Not for me, but seems many feel it will have a lot of appeal to CW’s viewers.
Beauty and the Beast" is based on a popular romantic TV show about a deformed man and a city DA. The CW version will not use the previous show’s format and will have a twist in its plot. Seems the beauty will meet the beast at a very young age. Again not for me
Cult" seems to be a good one as I love mysteries and I’m glad to see it’s liked by others. I hope it’s one that’s picked. I also like "The Selection" which is not doing too well in the interest category. It is more of a SyFy show which has done well on CW in the past.
I really think they will pick up only three pilots, but if more look good and Mark P is dead set on eliminating Dawn O., he could pick up 4. Right now that seems to be "Arrow," "The Carrie Diaries," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Cult." Which would mean "Hart of Dixie" would be canceled.
While I would LOVE to see SPN move to Tuesday nights and follow Arrow, I can’t see it happening so it will stay on Friday. And no way TVD will change days either, so it’s a stable on Thursday.
Monday: 90210, Gossip Girl
I’d move 90210 to Mondays to free up Tuesday to be and all action/Sci-fi night.
Tuesday: Arrow, Cult
Don’t know if two new shows are ever put on a night back to back, but I think the action/adventure/mystery of both would keep people watching all night.
Wednesday: ANTM, The Carrie Diaries
Thursday: TVD, Beauty and the Beast
In a way, they are both romances and have a SyFy nature so would appeal to the same people
Friday: TSC, SPN.
I really think TSC will be a good lead in for SPN. It is a SyFy show about witches and SPN is a SyFy show about all kinds of dark creatures, so I can see those turning in for TSC would stay for SPN.
(On the next page, Alice's Take)
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.