An era has passed, but as Sundays will always be the natural spot for awards shows, Fridays should never refuse a Barbara Walters special. And that’s what ABC rolled out last night with a full court press retrospective via the 2-hour Barbara Walters: Her Story (1.6/7) special. Coming the same day as Walters’ last stint as on-air den mother on The View, as my colleague Lisa de Moraes likes to say, the look back at her career over the decades saw the TV pioneer interviewing Presidents, the famous, the infamous and the too trainwrecky to look away. And a lot of people were looking on Friday. Even with last week’s 20/20, and down a scant 5% from Walters’ quickly pulled together showstopper of an interview with Donald Sterling’s confidante V. Stiviano on May 2, last night’s special was tied with lead-in Shark Tank (1.6/7) for the far away highest-rated show of the night and pulled in 9.30 million viewers to make it the most watched show of the night by a landslide. Needless to say, ABC cleaned up the night with a 1.6/6 among Adults 18-49 overall and 8.380 million total viewers.
CW Renews ‘The 100′, ‘Hart Of Dixie’ & ‘Beauty And The Beast’; Cancels ‘Tomorrow People’, ‘Star-Crossed’ & ‘Carrie Diaries’
Three of the CW‘s bubble series – The 100, Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast, have made the cut with orders for next season, while The Tomorrow People, Star-Crossed and Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries have been cancelled. The number of episodes for the renewed three is TBD — word is that they will likely be less than 22. The 100, which has been getting some of the CW’s best reviews ever, and the soapy Hart Of Dixie, both from Warner Bros TV, had been considered certain to return among the five CW series that didn’t make the cut for early pickup in February. That despite some recent ratings lows for Dixie in its new Friday slot. Politics likely played a role in picking the third. Beauty And The Beast, from the other CW sister studio, is a solid international seller for CBS Studios with 44 episodes already in the bank, which no doubt helped its cause for renewal. (Carrie Diaries‘ haul to date is 26 episodes.) The 100 will be run by executive producer Jason Rothenberg, who developed the show. Co-showrunners Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, who only signed on for the first 13 episodes to help Rothenberg find his bearings, are leaving.
The casualties at CW today include freshmen The Tomorrow People, which struggled to connect with the CW core 18-34 demo; alien romance Star-Crossed, which had a middling midseason run paired with Tomorrow People on Monday; and sophomore The Carrie Diaries, which has been long forgotten, having finished its 13-episode second and final season more than three months ago.
RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Shark Tank’ Ties High, ‘Hart Of Dixie’ Ties Low, ‘Unforgettable’ & ’20/20′ Up, ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Down
There was a lot of up-and-down movement last night. ABC was the biggest gainer, winning with an average of 1.8 rating in adults 18-49, a Friday season high and the network’s best result on the night in year-and-a-half, since Nov. 9, 2012. Opening things at 8 PM was the special Shark Tank: Swimming With Sharks (1.5), matching ABC’s season high for the time slot. It boosted Shark Tank (2.2), which was up 22% from last week to tie a season high. The gains carried over to 10 PM’s 20/20 (1.7, up 21%, 7 million viewers). It featured Barbara Walters’ headline-making interview with Donald Sterling’s confidante V. Staviano though the sit-down came together so last minute that ABC had no time to promote it for bigger ratings. It is getting a major online play.
Look who is getting in the renewal consideration game: CBS’ Unforgettable (1.1) shot up 22% from last week. Given its trimmed budget and half CBS ownership, if it can maintain these levels, a summer/midseason run is not as out of the question as it seemed. Hawaii Five-0 ( 1.2) did only marginally better, down a tenth from last week.
The CW’s new Friday lineup premiered last night, anchored by summer breakout Whose Line Is Is Anyway at 8 PM. The improv comedy opened its second cycle with a 0.6 in adults 18-49 and 1.91 million viewers. That was down sharply from the 1.1 for the show’s summer debut but that opener was boosted by curiosity as it marked the comedy’s return after a six-year hiatus. Last night’s Whose Line edged the summer finale (0.5). It also topped in the demo the second Friday airing of Fox’s Rake (0.5, flat with last week, 1.92 million) at 8 PM. Whose Line’s viewership was the largest for a regularly scheduled CW programming in the hour in almost three years, since the May 2011 season finale of former Friday dweller Supernatural. At 9 PM, Hart of Dixie (0.4, 1.23 million) rose by a tenth in 18-49 in its new home vs. its last airing on Monday and by 19% in total viewers. It tied Fox in the hour in 18-49, facing an Enlisted rerun (0.4) and new Raising Hope (0.4).
So-so ratings for the planted Originals spinoff episode of The Vampire Diaries last night didn’t deter the CW from proceeding with the project as a series. The network just gave its first new-series order for next season to The Originals, which had enjoyed strong support among CW brass. Additionally, the network has given early renewals to sophomore drama Hart Of Dixie and freshman Beauty And The Beast, which join previously picked up The Vampire Diaries, Arrow and Supernatural. Missing from the list are Nikita, which still appears likely for a final 13-episode cycle, and The Carrie Diaries, also likely to get a renewal despite tame ratings. Beauty And The Beast too has been lagging in the ratings department, but the reboot of the 1980s series was a pet project for CW president Mark Pedowitz, and its renewal assures that there is one returning show on the CW schedule next season that hails from CBS TV Studios, one of the two studios that supply the network. Additionally, digital play weighs much heavier on the CW brass’ renewal decisions than other networks because of the CW’s rich deals with Netflix and Hulu.
The CW‘s midseason drama The Carrie Diaries wraps its 13-episode freshman season tonight. With its pedigree as an offshoot from one of most recognizable media franchises of the last 20 years, Sex And The City, it was expected to be a slam-dunk. Instead, Carrie Diaries started slow and is finishing its run on the bubble. But while its TV ratings alone would’ve likely pushed the series toward cancellation, Carrie Diaries‘ very strong online play including on Hulu is making the renewal a possibility. What’s more, besides the three shows the CW already cancelled this season — veteran 90210 and freshmen Emily Owens MD and Cult — there is a chance that the CW returns all of its other series including Hart Of Dixie, Nikita, Beauty And The Beast and Carrie Diaries in some shape or form, including limited runs. (The CW’s strongest series, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and veteran Supernatural, were already renewed in February.)
More than other networks’ series, the online performance of CW shows, most of which are serialized, plays an important part in the net’s renewal decisions. After all, episode streaming provides a key revenue stream for the CW. In addition to commercial-loaded play on the the network’s website, the CW’s current series are available on Hulu under a five-year, $75-million deal, while previous seasons of CW shows are on Netflix as part of the eye-popping four-year, $1 billion pact the two companies inked in late 2011. The Netflix deal in particular represents an incentive for the CW to keep shows on the air longer because that raises interest in previous seasons as evident by such current serialized cable series as Breaking Bad, whose older seasons became blockbuster hits on Netflix.
As it picked up five new drama series, the CW also has renewed its strongest bubble series, Gossip Girl, Nikita and Hart of Dixie. It will be the final season for Gossip, third for Nikita and second for Dixie. The pickups of Dixie and Nikita are for 22 episodes, Gossip‘s is for an 11-episode final season.
Meanwhile, as expected, low-rated freshmen Ringer and The Secret Circle are not coming back. Here what the three renewed series had going for them. 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.
Is Zoe Hart getting a companion or a replacement? With Hart Of Dixie in the midst of its freshman season, the CW is eying another drama series about a newly minted female doctor for next fall. The network has given a pilot order to First Cut, written by 90210 alumna Jennie Snyder Urman. The project, from CBS TV Studios, centers on a brand new doctor who, glad to leave her nerdy past behind for a fresh start in the adult professional world, discovers that, sadly and comically, life at the hospital where she works is no different than high school. Urman is executive producing the pilot with Dan Jinks. While both Hart Of Dixie and First Cut have a newbie female doctor at their center, First Cut is considered the CW’s stab at a more hospital-centered show in the vein of Grey’s Anatomy or Scrubs (both about young doctors, btw), while in Hart Of Dixie, the medical element takes back seat to the relationships among a group of young people in Bluebell, Alabama. While not a breakout hit of the size of The Vampire Diaries, Hart Of Dixie has done well enough to earn a full-season order, boasts a popular star in Rachel Bilson and has ranked as the CW’s No.1 show on Hulu. That makes a second-season renewal for Hart of Dixie likely, at least for now, and First Cut a potential companion for it in the mold …
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.