With upfronts happening in NYC this week, it feels like a lot of the TV action is occurring off-screen. But the reality wars and multiple finales Monday proved the small screen still has a lot of moving and shaking going on. Coming off three nights last week of the live playoff round and a season low, The Voice (3.6/10) took a hit last night — and not just because the AC wasn’t working in the studio for the first part of the show. The Voice was down 12% to hit a performance low for this season, and while it was the night’s top-rated show, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother bested it for the first time in their overlapping half hour. Of course, with a live show expect to see those numbers adjusted in final ratings. The Voice’s lead-out Revolution (1.9/5) was also down, but only 5% from last week. NBC still won in the adults 18-49 demo, while ABC was tops in total viewers.
UPDATED: The current fifth season of 90210 will be its last. The CW series has been doing very poorly in the ratings this season in its Monday slot, especially this midseason when it has been paired with The Carrie Diaries. February 18, 90210 drew just 500,000 viewers. Now the series’ May 13 season finale will also be a series finale. Seven episodes remain. “The CW has had five great seasons with America’s favorite zip code, 90210,” CW President Mark Pedowitz said in a release announcing the move. “I’d like to thank the talented cast, producers, and crew for all their hard work and dedication to the series. We are very proud of the West Beverly High alumni.”
At its upfront in May, the CW announced that The Carrie Diaries will succeed departing Gossip Girl in the Monday 9 PM slot in midseason. Now the network has tweaked its plans, setting the Sex And The City prequel series for a January 14 premiere at 8 PM. The newbie will swap slots with veteran 90210, which will slide to 9 PM. I hear that the rationale behind the decision is that, like fall breakout Arrow, Carrie Diaries will be supported by a big marketing push, which may make it a better 8 PM anchor just like Arrow is on Wednesdays, lifting veteran Supernatural with it. A sneak peak from The Carrie Diaries will be featured during the December 17 two-hour series finale of Gossip Girl.
The CW will formally announce the rest of its midseason schedule at a later date, but the majority of its lineup is expected to return to originals the week of January 14.
The CW today gave early renewals to its three strongest scripted series: flagship The Vampire Diaries, veteran Supernatural and 90210. The Vampire Diaries will return for its its fourth season, 90210 for its fifth and Supernatural for its eighth. There are no surprises in the pickups as all three had been certain to return. Of the network’s bubble shows – Gossip Girl, Nikita, The Secret Circle, Ringer and Hart Of Dixie – the bets are on Gossip Girl, Hart Of Dixie and possibly Nikita coming back. Gossip Girl is a big DVR gainer and has been a signature show for the CW that could go well together with Carrie Diaries, Hart Of Dixie has been very strong in online viewing, and Nikita is a big international seller for the CW’s sister studio Warner Bros TV. Further complicating things for Ringer, which already had little chance of continuing with its low ratings and dense-bordering-on-confusing storylines, is the fact that star Sarah Michelle Gellar, who plays two roles on the show, is pregnant. (Unless both twin sisters fell pregnant at the same time.) Word is the CW will also pick up as many as 5-6 new series, with Arrow, The Carrie Diaries, Beauty & The Beast, First Cut, Cult and the Hunger Games-esque The Selection considered frontrunners. The network is said to be looking to have a lot more originals on the air throughout a season next season.
The CW hasn’t been able to successfully launch a reality series in its 6-year history. (Long-running hit America’s Next Top Model originated on UPN.) Now the network is making its biggest effort to date with the midseason fashion docu series Remodeled, which will blanket the CW schedule for 2 weeks in January and push back the returns of 91010 and Ringer. Remodeled, which will bridge the two cycles of Top Model, was originally slated to premiere in Top Model’s Wednesday 9 PM slot on Jan. 18, following an original One Tree Hill. The debut has now been moved to Tuesday, Jan. 17, when Remodeled will follow the return of 90210, which is being held back a week to help launch the new series. The premiere episode of Remodeled will be rerun twice that week, in the show’s regular Wednesday 9 PM slot after OTH and on Friday at 8 PM, replacing Nikita, which was slated to air a repeat. The second episode of Remodeled will also air behind 90210 on Tuesday and repeat on Wednesday before Remodeled settles into its Wednesday 9 PM slot on Feb. 1. On Tuesdays, Remodeled will preempt Ringer, whose return with originals will be delayed by 3 weeks, from Jan. 10 to Jan. 31. Remodeled stars modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher as he tries to bring together hundreds of small agencies around the world in a new venture.
The CW has set return dates for its original series, which will go on hiatus next month. The network will roll out its lineup on January 5 with the Thursday duo of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. The final 13-episode season of One Tree Hill will launch on January 11 and will run on Wednesdays in tandem with new reality series Remodeled, which will serve as a bridge between the two cycles of America’s Next Top Model. Because Remodeled‘s order is shorter than that of OTH, the final episodes of OTH are expected to air with Top Model, whose midseason premiere date will be announced early next year. Here is a list of the CW’s midseason premiere dates:
UPDATE, 11:10 AM: This deal’s more lucrative than it initially seemed. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker figures it could be worth as much as $1B for CW. While she acknowledges that “the accounting is somewhat complex,” she says that CBS — which co-owns CW with Time Warner — might see an additional 5 cents a share annually. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett says it could contribute 2 cents a share to Time Warner. “The money-losing CW may also retain a minority of the Netflix fee, helping reduce its losses,” he adds. The deal’s so valuable because CW’s young-skewing shows fit well with the audience that streams shows on demand from Netflix. What’s more, Netflix’s payments escalate for long-running series.
Warner Bros Television Group president Bruce Rosenblum won’t comment on the financials but says the terms “won’t be repeated” because “other networks don’t own (as much of) their own content.” This isn’t an exclusive deal in the traditional sense — the shows can appear elsewhere – but Netflix has a narrow right to show entire seasons on-demand from previous years. (Others can license select episodes.) “We know from Day 1 that the syndication on-demand window has been sold, but we also have the ability to sell linear rights down the road,” Rosenblum says. CW shows also may continue to run on Netflix even if the deal isn’t renewed; the online service has the right to keep offering series that begin while it’s in force.
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: This one follows the usual pattern: Nothing current — just previous seasons of CW series. And it’s not exclusive. Producers can continue to sell their shows in syndication and to other digital services. No mention of how much Netflix will pay for the programming. Here’s the release:
October 13, 2011 — CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Television Group announced today a licensing agreement with Netflix [Nasdaq: NFLX] allowing U.S. members of Netflix to instantly watch previous seasons of scripted series that air on The CW from its current schedule through the 2014-15 season.
In his TCA debut today, new CW president Mark Pedowitz gave a glimpse at his strategy for the broadcast network. To sum it up, more original programming to bridge the ghastly midseason (and summer) hole on the network’s schedule when it goes into a dormant state with low-rated repeats of its serialized dramas.
In addition to launching more reality shows and boosting the orders of existing series with more episodes for more weeks of originals (CW is adding two episodes each to Gossip Girl and 90210 and one to Supernatural and Nikita this season), the network also hopes to add scripted genres that repeat better than serialized dramas for fall 2012. “We are still looking to do high-concept serialized dramas, but we will have a deeper focus on trying to get a good close-ended show that has a CW feel to it,” Pedowitz said, adding later, “It helps in repeats. We have to be able to repeat better.”
And comedy, the genre which exited CW’s slate a couple of years ago, may be making a comeback. “We are opening ourselves to look at comedies this year,” Pedowitz said. “I think there are some new comedies this fall would’ve worked on the CW: 2 Broke Girls, New Girl and Apartment 23.” After the session, he stressed that the network will develop comedy “very slowly, very smartly — baby steps, selectively.” …
EXCLUSIVE: The CW is looking to beat the midseason rerun blues by supersizing the orders of four returning drama series. The network has picked up two additional episodes each of soaps Gossip Girl and 90210, bringing their orders to 24 episodes, and one additional episode each of veteran Supernatural and sophomore Nikita, which will go up to 23 episodes each. Notably missing is CW’s flagship drama The Vampire Diaries. That stems from the show’s inability to accommodate additional episodes because of its extensive post-production process that leads to longer production times. (Additionally, co-showrunner Kevin Williamson is also shepherding the new CW series The Secret Circle). This is the second time the CW has expanded the seasons of existing series — it ordered additional episodes of Gossip Girls and One Tree Hill a couple of years ago — but it has never done it on such scale, with four series. It is part of new CW president Mark Pedowitz’s plan to bring lull periods of reruns during the season to a minimum. He already ordered three series for midseason at the upfronts: reality series Re-Modeled and The Frame and the final season of veteran One Tree Hill.