Upfronts 2012: The CW hopes its changes are for the better
NEW YORK --The CW will undergo major alterations come fall.
In a bid to turn around a year of disappointing ratings, the network’s schedule is getting heavily revised with changes coming to every slot except one: Thursdays at 8 p.m., where its hit series “The Vampire Diaries” brings in impressive numbers for the young network. In its presentation to advertisers Thursday at the New York City Center, which included appearances by actors from series such as "Supernatural" and "90210," the CW also announced that it will be sitting out the traditional fall season launch period and delaying its series premieres until October — helping to avoid the big four networks’ September premieres and the conflicts bound to arise with the presidential debates. Two of its five new dramas will get a midseason premiere.
“We thought the [schedule] signified change,” CW President Mark Pedowitz told reporters after the presentation. “And change here is very important …. We think it will be beneficial in the long run.”
The CW saw it’s ratings dip 15% from the year before, with the young adult demographic falling even further, down 18%, according to Nielsen. It's a reality the network downplayed, citing the ways in which its target viewers now consume television. And the network canceled two of its dramas: witch soap “The Secret Circle” and “Ringer,” which marked the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar post-“Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
The network’s reshuffling will begin on Mondays, with “Gossip Girl’s” abbreviated final season moving an hour later to 9 p.m., with “90210” as its lead-in. When its swan song is complete, it will get a fashionable replacement in Janurary with “The Carrie Diaries,” a prequel centered on the protagonist of “Sex and the City.”
Star AnnaSophia Robb told the crowd that assuming the role of fashionista Carrie Bradshaw made popular by Sarah Jessica Parker on HBO’s ‘Sex and the City” has its challenges: “I have big shoes to fill … so I’ve been doing a lot of shoe shopping.”
Tuesdays will get the medical treatment, with the sophomore return of “Hart of Dixie” and the premiere of the Mamie Gummer-led series “Emily Owens, M.D.” (formerly “First Cut”), about a doctor who learns profesional life isn’t all that different from high school.
Meanwhile, following a ratings decline this spring, long-running franchise "America's Next Top Model" is strutting down to Fridays, where it will be paired with returning drama "Nikita" — though, not a ratings hit, Pedowirz likes the drama and says its time slot move was to help bring in viewers to its affiliates' news programs.
Previous Friday player “Supernatural” moves to Wednesdays, where it will follow the DC comics adaptation “Arrow,” a dark telling of the Green Arrow action tale. And the fantasy crime procedural, “Beauty and the Beast,” has been given the plum 9 p.m. spot on Thursdays following “The Vampire Diaries” — its predecessor, “The Secret Circle,” didn’t fare so well there, though.
Joining "Carrie Diaries" in midseason is thriller "Cult," which hasn't been given a time slot yet.
— Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw. Credit: Mathieu Young/The CW.