The CW 2011-2012 Primetime Schedule

09/14/2011 at 12:23 am | Posted in Net/Spec | Leave a comment

Since three new shows premiere this week for The CW, we will cover them first. 

 

Below is the 2011-2012 primetime schedule, including premiere dates:

MONDAY

8p – Gossip Girl (9/26) NT

9p – Hart of Dixie (9/26) NS

TUESDAY

8p – 90210 (9/13) NT

9p – Ringer (9/13) NS

WEDNESDAY

8p – H8R (9/14) NS

9p – America’s Next Top Model (9/14)

THURSDAY

8p – The Vampire Diaries (9/15)

9p – The Secret Circle (9/15) NS

FRIDAY

8p – Nikita (9/23) NT

9p – Supernatural (9/23)

SPECIAL SCHEDULING NOTE

NS notates new series – NT notates a returning show moving to a new time period.

Saturday and Sunday primetime periods are given to the local CW station to use for syndicated/local programming.

THOUGHTS ON RETURNING SHOWS

The CW has decided to split up two of their franchise shows – moving 90210 from Mondays at 8p to the same time period on Tuesdays, and pushing Gossip Girl up from 9p to 8p.  While Gossip Girl is the lowest-rated returning shows (remember – Fridays are always excluded in ratings talk), it is one of the benchmark programs for The CW – and probably sells well internationally.  Added to the fact that it has plenty of episodes in the bank, this show generates good money for the network (and respective studio).

Nikita has been moved from Thursdays at 9p to Fridays at 8p for its second season.  While that usually is a death sentence for most shows – this transition shouldn’t be seen as such.  Supernatural (Fridays at 9p) is one of The CW’s favorite shows; so the fact that Nikita is being given Smallville’s old spot and Supernatural as its lead-out should be seen as a positive.  Added to the fact that Mark Pedowitz (new President of The CW) announced that the network isn’t planning on this to be the final season of Supernatural – expect The CW to keep this Friday line-up for the next season as well.  Granted, if Nikita doesn’t tank…

America’s Next Top Model is going to have an “All-Star” season, bringing back fan favorites.  I don’t really have any thoughts on that – just thought I’d give you a heads-up.

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROGRAMS

Hart of Dixie – Here’s how The CW described it in their press release:

“Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon.  But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama.  Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will.  She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe.  Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiancé.  Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there.  The series stars Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, Jaime King as Lemon Breeland, Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella, Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes, McKaley Miller as Rose and Scott Porter as George Tucker.  Hart Of Dixie is from Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Fake Empire, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Leila Gerstein (“Gossip Girl,” “Eli Stone”), Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck,” “The O.C.”), Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “The O.C.”), Len Goldstein and Jason Ensler (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck”).  The pilot was directed by Jason Ensler.”

Let me simplify this for you:  The show is basically the sequel to Doc Hollywood with a gender-swap of the main character.  Like I said in my disclaimer post, I’m not accusing them of ripping off the fun movie starring Michael J. Fox; I’m simply doing what the producers did when they pitched it to WB/CBS – giving a quick-and-easy reference to set the tone.

So will this show succeed?  Short answer: I don’t know.  I like Bilson, King, and Williams – and God knows that Jaime King deserves better than the TV luck she’s had over the years (the short-lived Kitchen Confidential, and even shorter-lived My Generation).  My fear is having Gossip Girl as its lead-in.  As I previously stated, GG isn’t exactly pulling in the viewers – and while The CW doesn’t normally go by the ratings for its success metric – it absolutely cancels the freshman show with the lowest ratings (last year’s Hellcats, for example).  Added to the fact that Mondays at 9 are crazy-packed with hit shows on the Big Four, I’m not sure how many viewers are left to tune in.

My hope is that The CW gives this show more than one season to determine if it’s a keeper or not.  With three of Gossip Girl’s executive producers attached, they just might do that.  It would be a positive sign if The CW moves Hart of Dixie to another time period (maybe Wednesdays at 8p) for midseason or Fall 2012.

H8R – Here’s how The CW described it in their press release:

“Celebrities go head-to-head with civilians who hate them to win their “haters” over.  Hosted by Mario Lopez, H8R is from Horizon Alternative Television with executive producers Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey (“Extra”), Jeremy Spiegel (“Extra”) and Mario Lopez.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Inexpensive filler.  The less said about this show, the better for my brain cells.  I really do like Mario Lopez, but this just seems like a VH1 “celebreality” program geared for D-listers to try and extend their 15 minutes of fame.  Other than the pilot edition, I find it very hard to believe that they will have anyone of actual note to show up and submit themselves to being criticized.  Chances are, this show will feature people who the “civilians” may have even forgotten about.  How many times are people going to tune in for this exchange:

Lopez:  So what do you really think of (obscure actor from the early 80s)?

Civilian:  I…thought you were dead.

Celebrity(?): Well, I’m not.

Lopez:  And there you have it!  Next celebrity!

Once midseason hits, this show will be replaced by one of the two reality shows The CW ordered.  I would love it if Dixie took this spot, and the reality show was placed on Mondays at 9p.

Ringer – Here’s how The CW described it in their press release:

“Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind.  Bridget is six months sober and starting to turn her life around when she is the sole witness to a professional hit.  Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget knows her life is on the line.  She flees to New York, telling no one, not even her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Malcolm.  In New York, Bridget reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan.  Wealthy, pampered and married to the strikingly handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be a fairy tale life – a life where no one knows that Bridget exists.  The Sisters seem to be mending their frayed relationship, until Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the split decision to take on her sister’s identity.  She discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma, and Gemma’s husband, Henry.  And when someone tries to kill Bridget in her sister’s penthouse, she realizes she is no safer as Siobhan than she is as herself.  The series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Bridget and Siobhan, Kristoffer Polaha as Henry, Ioan Gruffudd as Andrew Martin, Nestor Carbonell as Agent Victor Machado and Tara Summers as Gemma.  Ringer is produced by CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television in association with ABC Television Studios and Brillstein Entertainment with executive producers Pam Veasey (“CSI, NY,” “The District”), Peter Traugott (“Samantha Who?”) and Emmy Award-winner Richard Shepard (“Ugly Betty”).  The pilot was directed by Richard Shepard.”

Let me simplify this for you:  Twin swap (Parent Trap) meets mistaken identity (El Mariachi).  This show is depending/hoping on fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – to the tune of $90,000/episode paid to Sarah Michelle Gellar.  While I can’t say I’m excited about this show, I did watch the premiere tonight.  Not because I’m a Buffy/Angel fan (which I am), but the previews had piqued my interest some.  While I found the last few minutes interesting (it seems to be a show that has a cliffhanger-esque ending for each episode), the premiere as a whole had pretty slow pacing.

Do I think this show will survive?  I think the odds are better for Ringer than Dixie.  The CW has more financial investment in Ringer, but if its ratings are at or below Dixie’s levels – The CW might choose to cut costs and reward Gossip Girl’s executive producers by going with Dixie.  We’ll probably have a clear idea by midseason.

The Secret Circle – Here’s how The CW described it in their press release:

“Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire.  Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself.  As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen.  When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of The Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers.  But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny.  What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.  The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake, Thomas Dekker as Adam Conant, Gale Harold as Charles Meade, Phoebe Tonkin as Fay Chamberlain, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa, Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade, Louis Hunter as Nick, Ashley Crow as Jane Blake and Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain.  Based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (author of “The Vampire Diaries” book series), The Secret Circle is from Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream,” “Dawson’s Creek”), Andrew Miller (“Imaginary Bitches”), Leslie Morgenstein (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl”) and Gina Girolamo.  Elizabeth Craft (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) & Sarah Fain (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie To Me”) were executive producers on the pilot which was directed by Liz Friedlander (“The Vampire Diaries,” “90210”).”

Let me simplify this for you:  The Craft: The Series.  The CW’s top show is The Vampire Diaries.  Also, Thursdays have been good for The CW with supernatural-themed shows – such as, well, Supernatural and Smallville (I know I know – technically that one is paranormal and extraterrestrial).  The CW is hoping that the viewers who love Diaries will keep their TVs on for Circle.

Will it survive?  All signs point to: Yes.  Thursdays at 9p is a great time period on The CW – especially with The Vampire Diaries as a lead-in.  Nikita pulled in solid ratings last year; and had it also had a supernatural theme, it might have stayed in that slot.

Want to catch a sneak peak before Thursday’s premiere?  You can download the first episode on iTunes for free.

There you have it for The CW.  Next up will be NBC.

Thoughts?  Comments?

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