The CW: Making Noise With Dramas

'Reign,' 'Tomorrow People' to get network’s top launch pads
Author:
Publish date:

Complete Coverage: Upfronts 2013

RELATED:
ABC: Reducing Repeats With Limited Series
CBS: Restocking the Comedy Coffers
Fox: '24' Ways to Retool With Comedy, Spectacle
NBC: Betting on Olympics, 'Voice' to Launch New Hits
The CW: Making Noise With Dramas
USA: Launching Original Half-Hour Comedies
Turner: Beefing Up Content Collection
ESPN: We Welcome the Competition
Univision: Expanding Its Hispanic Footprint
Telemundo: Batting 1,000 on Original Content
MundoFox: Bringing 'The X Factor,' 'Bridge' to Hispanic Viewers
Discovery en Espanol: Introducing a New Programming Genre, Vroom

Click here to view the fall primetime schedule grid.

Click here to view pilot clips and trailers from the networks' new shows.

STRATEGY: Continue broadening 18-to-34 viewer base with noisy new dramas and again launch the fall season in October to avoid the clutter and reduce repeats.

The CW will shake up its primetime lineup next season, making changes on all five nights of its schedule and premiering three new dramas: The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, sci-fi series The Tomorrow People and Reign, about a young Mary Queen of Scots.

The high-concept entries are part of The CW's evolution from a network that used to be stocked with high school soaps starring young, beautiful people (the beautiful people are still there), a move based on the success of this season's comic book-inspired Arrow, a breakout freshman hit.

"You have to make noise," CW president Mark Pedowitz said at a press conference following the network's upfront presentation on May 16. "It's very hard these days to make noise with smaller, softer shows."

Reign will get the network's top launch pad out of The Vampires Diaries on Thursday to capitalize on the heavy female skew of both shows. The Tomorrow People will premiere out of Arrow, making Wednesday a "family night," Pedowitz joked, because the stars of each series are cousins Stephen and Robbie Amell.

The Originals will anchor Tuesdays, a scheduling decision made because "we believe that those characters are well known," Pedowitz said. Originals will be followed by Supernatural, shifted up from Wednesdays. Pedowitz hopes the franchise can bring more viewers to the night where Ringer, Cult and Emily Owens, M.D. have failed in recent seasons.

Hart of Dixie will also move up a night to Monday to lead into sophomore Beauty and the Beast, while Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries relocates to Friday, paired with America's Next Top Model.

The network also announced that this will be the final season of Nikita, which gets an abbreviated sixepisode order to wrap up its story, with a premiere targeted for late fall.

The CW will again launch its fall season in October, as it did last year to avoid the crush of September premiere week and keep more originals on the schedule through midseason.

"It worked for us," Pedowitz said. "It allowed us to market shows away from everybody. It makes our schedule tighter, and we need to do that."

For midseason, the network has two more sci-fi projects -- Star-Crossed and The 100 -- as well as a new reality series from TMZ called Famous in 12, which tasks one family with achieving celebrity in 12 weeks.

Though The CW picked up five new dramas for next season, Pedowitz reiterated that he is interested in adding comedy to the network if he thinks it can find an audience.

"That's one of the strategies in bringing back Whose Line Is It Anyway?," he said of the show, set to debut July 16. "If Whose Line works, we will de!nitely go back to the sitcom genre."

For now, The CW is experimenting with short-form comedy series on its digital studio, which is meant to act as an incubator for such material. At its upfront, the network announced it is renaming the studio CW Seed and opening up its sub-site on CWTV.com for viewer feedback and more social engagement.

E-mail comments to amorabito@nbmedia.com and follow her on Twitter: @andreamorabito

Related