Forget the terrible twos. As the CW enters its second year, the lovechild of the WB and UPN is intent on being its own person, er, network. The CW president Dawn Ostroff addressed the press on Friday (July 20), praising what she hopes will be a slate of ”network defining series.” There’s plenty of questionable fare (a midseason reality show called Farmer Needs a Wife) but also some shows (Aliens in America, Reaper, Gossip Girl) that seem good enough to make us almost forgive the C-Dub for killing off Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars and Everwood. Almost.
RIP, Year One
Ostroff didn’t waste much breath on the series her network kicked to the curb last year. ”We launched an entire network in nine months,” Ostroff said, pointing out that it didn’t leave much time for new and original programming. ”It would have been hard to say [to viewers] ‘New show, new network, new channel.”’ So they hung on to a few old favorites — but not for long. Why bid adieu to the Gilmores? ”We felt that a lot of the stories had been told and it was time to move on,” Ostroff said. Apparently, so did the audience, which dropped off 25 percent in the last season. The decision was far more cut-and-dried for the ratings-challenged V. Mars: ”I can’t have any regrets. We gave Veronica Mars every chance.” But Ostroff does regret that the Emmys didn’t deign to shine its light on the shows: ”I think it’s a shame that [Gilmore’s] Lauren Graham never got nominated.”
The New Girls
Supergirl (played by Canadian Laura Vandervoort) will be flying into Smallville this fall, while the Supernatural brothers get gal pals (Katie Cassidy, daughter of David, and Lauren Cohan). New series from O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, Gossip Girl, inspired by Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series about privileged teens in Manhattan, will have a digital sibling (think Second Life) where fans can build characters and — most important — find the clothes that the characters in the show wear and the music that they listen to. (Finally, a network that understands what’s important to its viewers: pure consumption, baby.)
Ostroff has plenty of new shows and twists on old ones set for midseason. One Tree Hill will return with a full 22-episode order, and though it will fast-forward past the characters’ college years, Ostroff says, ”We always have the ability to flash back to that time in their lives.” Also living out the 20-something years will be Eight Days a Week, a new series from Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes that has a sort of Devil Wears Prada/Nanny Diaries/New York assistant-lit feel to it. And, last but not least, the Pussycat Dolls are back! The girls will be choosing singers/dancers/whatevers for a new girl group called (wait for it) ”Girlicious.” Hopefully, this season’s winners will fare better than last year’s — would-be Pussycat Doll Asia has since decided to pursue a solo career. (Quipped exec VP for communications Paul McGuire, ”Asia decided to run off with Mandy Patinkin.”)
Like NBC, Ostroff announced that all shows on the appropriately lime-themed CW will deal with eco issues at some point in the season. Already in the works: Everybody Hates Chris’ ”Everybody Hates Earth Day.”