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TV Column
Posted at 06:16 PM ET, 05/17/2012

Upfront Week 2012: CW moves nearly every show to different timeslot, unveils theme nights (medical Tuesday, superhero Wednesday)


AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw. (Giovanni Rufino - CW)
Three new dramas in the fall, massive moving of returning shows, and nights that are themed — doctor night, superhero night, paranormal night, etc – are the hallmarks of the fall CW schedule that network president Mark Pedowitz promised advertisers would be “transformative.”

“The Secret Circle” and “Ringer” are toast — as is “H8R,” to the surprise of no one.

“We have the goods,” Pedowitz told a packed crowd of advertisers, and some station execs at New York City Center theater Thursday morning.

By way of demonstrating “the goods,” he opened his presentation with a long-ish trailer from new show “Arrow,” which will kickoff Superhero Wednesdays at 8 in the fall, leading into the eighth season of “Supernatural” at 9.

Usually it’s not a great idea to ask a new show to lead off a night. But “Arrow” is based on characters appearing in the already well known and popular comic books and graphic novels published by DC Comics —which, not coincidentally, is owned by Warner Bros, which is partnered in CW with CBS Corp. Plus, it stars this guy Stephen Amell who gives women the vapors. When the clip got to the bit where star Amell was seen chinning his way up, ever higher into the air, chicks in the audience began woo-hooing. According to a network insider, the reaction was the same during their in-house screenings.


Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen in “Arrow.” (Jack Rowand - CW)
“Arrow” is the lead-in for the eighth and, according to Pedowitz, most certainly not the last, season of “Supernatural” at 9.

What is winding up its run is “Gossip Girl” which will follow the soap “90210” on Monday nights in the fall. Until January, that is, when “GG’s” timeslot is taken over by “The Carrie Diaries” — a prequel to HBO’s “Sex and the City” that is set in the mid 80’s, when Carrie Bradshaw was16-years old, stuck in Connecticut, and “the freak who had just lost her mom.” Seems Dad shipped her off to intern at a law firm in New York, where she met the style editor at Interview magazine, and, CW said, fell “in love for the first time with the most important man in her life — Manhattan.” Sure it’s corny, but star AnnaSophia Robb is cute and has big blonde hair, and the other star — her wardrobe — looks promising, though some of lines delivered in the pilot by her high school pals are very Samantha for broadcast TV.

“We are forever grateful to ‘Gossip Girl’ for many seasons of OMFG storytelling,” the middle-aged Pedowitz told advertisers of the long-running show. Advertisers giggled; Pedowitz smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and moved on.

Tuesday is doc-drama night: it starts with returning ‘Hart of Dixie,” which Pedowitz says, is the network’s most popular show on Hulu, except when “The Vampire Diaries” is No. 1 and it’s a close No. 2. “Dixie” is followed at 9 by new “Emily Owens, M.D.” Think Ally McBeal, if she was a doctor — very cute, utterly self absorbed, incessantly navel gazing. It stars Mamie Gummer, who is Meryl Streep’s daughter, which, once they figure it out, is sure to outrage those Reporters Who Cover Television who worked up a good lather over the rampant celebrity-daughter hiring that went on in the casting of HBO’s “Girls.”

“Emily Owens, M.D.” is about a chick who’s is now a first year intern at Denver Memorial Hospital and can, CW says, finally put her high school days, as the geeky girl with flop sweats behind her. Except, of course, that should have happened, say, when she was an undergrad, but we’ll let it go.


Mamie Gummer as Emily and Michael Rady as Micah on “Emily Owens, M.D.” (Michael Courtney - CW)
To her dismay, our Emily discovers her high school nemesis — the gorgeous and popular Cassandra Kopelson — is also just starting out at Denver Memorial, and is also a surgical intern, and they both have the hots for Emily’s med-school crush Will Rider. On top of that, the jocks have all become orthopedic surgeons, the mean girls are in plastic surgery, the rebels are in the ER, and the stoners have all gone in for anesthesiology. Note to everyone: under no circumstances ever seek treatment at Denver Memorial.

Paranormal Thursdays starts with “The Vampire Diaries” at 8. It’s followed by the latest iteration of “Beauty and the Beast” at 9, featuring, Pedowitz assured advertisers “one hot sexy beast.”

This version is a sort of procedural crime drama/bodice ripper mash-up. Detective Catherine Chandler is a homicide detective who witnessed her mother’s murder but was saved from same fate by some animal/guy. Animal Guy turns out to be handsome doctor Vincent Keller who was reportedly killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan in 2002. Only he’s still alive, but is hiding, because he was genetically altered as a soldier and now someone wants to clock him, just cause. And, when he gets mad he becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened insight. Naturally, he and Catherine find each other irresistible. Ah youth!

Ageing “America’s Next Top Model” has been moved to Fridays, followed by “Nikita” in its new 9 p.m. timeslot. Pedowitz noted this is the first time viewers will get to choose who gets the hook and who stays in the pick-a-model competition series, and told reporters after the presentation he wasn’t ready to call this the ratings-lean reality show’s final season.

Meanwhile, “Nikita” skews old for CW, which targets 18-34 year olds, but that makes for a better lead-in to CW stations’ local newscasts, Pedowitz explained to reporters in a post-presentation news conference.


Robert Knepper as Billy Grimm/Roger Reeves and Alona Tal as Kelly/Marti in “Cult.” (Laine Hentscher - CW)
“Cult,” another CW midseason drama, is the story of Jeff Sefton, whose brother Nate believes a hit TV show wants to harm him and then mysteriously disappears. This causes Jeff to sit up and take notice, what with him being an investigative journalist. Intrepid Jeff uncovers the dark underworld of the cult TV show, which, in one of those happy coincidences, is called “Cult,” and stars a cult leader named Billy Grimm. Seems the show has become an obsession for its viewers who, CW says, are taking their fixation to extremes in the real world.

Sounds like “Community.”

CW will wait to launch its new season schedule in early October, so as to avoid the crush of programs being unveiled by the bigger broadcast networks. Debuting its new season before the other networks was all very good and well for CW this season, but the show all lost traction during Premiere Week when the Big Boys trotted out their new product, Pedowitz explained to reporters after the presentation.

And of his stated goal to bring comedy back to the network, Pedowitz says he is still working toward that goal but did not want to launch any in the fall because the schedule needed stabilizing and the fastest, most effective way to do that was by replacing canceled dramas with dramas.

THE CW’s 2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

MONDAY

8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)

9:00-10:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL (New Time)

(THE CARRIE DIARIES premieres January, 2013)

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM HART OF DIXIE (New Night)

9:00-10:00 PM EMILY OWENS, M.D. (New Series)

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM ARROW (New Series)

9:00-10:00 PM SUPERNATURAL (New Night)

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PM THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

9:00-10:00 PM BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (New Series)

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (New Night)

9:00-10:00 PM NIKITA (New Time)

More from Upfront Week:

VIDEO: Check out previews of CBS’s new shows

CBS moves ‘Two and a Half Men’ to Thursday, ‘Mentalist’ to Sunday, unveils four new series

VIDEO: Check out previews of ABC’s new shows

ABC moves ‘Revenge’ to ‘Desperate’ timeslot and loads up on comedies for fall

VIDEO: Check out previews of Fox’s new shows

Upfront Week 2012: Fox has Britney Spears, Demi Lovato; NBC has a monkey

Upfront Week 2012: Mindy Kaling, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears join Fox; ‘Glee’ moves to Thursday

VIDEO: Check out previews of NBC’s new shows

CBS officially cancels “CSI: Miami”

NBC reveals schedule: ‘Community’ to Friday, ‘The Voice' to launch in fall

By  |  06:16 PM ET, 05/17/2012

 
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