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Author Topic:   The CW
HollywoodProducer
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posted March 31, 2006 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The new CW network will headquarter in Burbank, Calif., in the Pinnacle Building sometime in the fourth quarter, according to CW insiders.There had been speculation--including a front-page story in the L.A. Times--about just where the new network, which is being formed by CBS and Warner Bros., would eventually be headquartered. UPN is currently based in West L.A. and The WB in Burbank. Both those networks are folding with the advent of The CW. No details were available about how much of the Pinnacle building The CW would occupy. CBS executives next year are expected to move into new quarters in Studio City, Calif., which is nearby. With this move and CBS's, four of the five major broadcast networks would be based in the San Fernando Valley area--CW, CBS, ABC, NBC. Fox is in West L.A.

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indiedan
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posted April 05, 2006 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Questions for….Jamie Kellner

Station-Owner Backs the CW
As New TV Network to Watch
By BROOKS BARNES
April 5, 2006; Page B3E

Two new television networks are launching in September and the owners of TV stations across the country are placing bets on which one will make more money.

Some see opportunity in My Network TV. Founded by News Corp.'s Fox, the network will debut Sept. 5 with episodes of two sex-drenched soap operas airing every night of the week, a tactic borrowed from Spanish-language television. So far, News Corp. has signed up 96 stations covering about 63% of the U.S. population, including powerful affiliates in San Francisco and Tampa, Fla.


'I'm not going to tell them how to run their business. But hit shows drive networks,' Mr. Kellner says.
Jamie Kellner is backing the other pony. The CW will combine the most popular shows from the soon-to-close UPN and WB networks, think "America's Next Top Model" and "Gilmore Girls," and focus on a narrow audience of adults aged 18 to 34. The CW, which stands for CBS Corp. and Warner Bros., has signed up 111 stations covering 74% of the country, including seven stations controlled by Mr. Kellner through Acme Communications Inc.

Mr. Kellner's stations, mostly in midsize markets, aren't hugely important to the CW. But Mr. Kellner's vote of confidence is of symbolic significance. He helped found both Fox in 1988 and the WB in 1995, so he knows a thing or two about launching a network. Mr. Kellner talks below about his reasons for backing the CW, potential pitfalls awaiting its management, and his thoughts on the network's name.

WSJ: Why did you decide to link your stations with the CW? Loyalty?

Mr. Kellner: Not at all. I have a responsibility to Acme and our shareholders so I made a decision on what network would be more successful. Clearly that is the CW. The CW is trying to be a real network with expensive, quality shows. "Smallville," "Gilmore Girls," "Everybody Hates Chris." That's how you get to be one of the big five networks, and that's something we want to be part of.

WSJ: What didn't you like about My Network TV?

Mr. Kellner: Fox has a completely different vision. Theirs is a lower-cost program model -- meaning lower quality of programming -- and that allows them to give more ad inventory to stations to sell. Their costs are lower. It's a good alternative strategy for them in the marketplace. But we wanted to go with a Big Five network strategy [operating more like the four established broadcast networks] rather than a new model that will be hard to accomplish.

Fox responded in a statement: "We respect Jamie's well documented association with low-quality programming, but we're confident of My Network TV's superior line-up."

WSJ: Both the WB and UPN were limping along for years losing money. Should the combination have happened sooner?

Mr. Kellner: Yes, very much so. There were conversations for many years, as far back as the launch of them both. This is a great thing for stations who get The CW, who now combine the best of the two schedules into a really strong six-night-a-week schedule.

WSJ: Quite a few station owners and media buyers complain that the CW is terrible name. What do you think?

Mr. Kellner: I'm not sure yet. I think it's unfair to judge based on letters. I would have preferred CWB or The CWB or The WBC or something with WB together to keep a clear message in the local markets of who we are. You have to see how they will market it and use it. If they do a good job with that, then it will be a great name.

WSJ: How should the CW go about selling itself to viewers and to advertisers?

Mr. Kellner: I'm not going to tell them how to run their business. But hit shows drive networks. The programming strategy so far is great -- they have too many good programs for the available time slots. They'll have to try pretty hard to screw this up.

WSJ: What pitfalls should management of the CW watch out for in these early days?

Mr. Kellner: They have to be religious about staying on track about what the mission is. This is not going to be easy. It comes down to proper marketing, being clever, getting good development in the pipeline to stay fresh. The hardest part of a network is getting hit shows. They already have hits so they're way ahead of the game.

WSJ: The CW will be jointly owned by CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Serving two masters is often a recipe for disaster. Why should this be any different?

Mr. Kellner: I don't think there are going to be any problems. I think that's people stirring the pot. The executives overseeing the network get along very well and have worked well together for many years. From Warner Bros. you have some people who are very strong on the business side, and from CBS you have people who are very, very skilled in programming. I don't see a lot of duplication of their skills so they should be fine.

WSJ: Both UPN and the WB targeted adults age 18 to 34. With those networks becoming one, how will the shrinking inventory affect the ad market?

Mr. Kellner: By merging the networks together, there's a little bit less of that kind of inventory. That should help everybody. The networks should be able to charge a bit more, and advertisers will have more focused channels to deliver their messages

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HollywoodProducer
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posted May 02, 2006 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
May 2, 2006
Not WB Nor UPN
By BILL CARTER
Only two months after announcing the start-up of the CW network — the result of a merger in January of two struggling part-time networks, WB and UPN — executives from CBS and Warner Brothers met with the marketing department of their new entity, expecting to make a radical change.

"We walked into that meeting ready to throw out the name CW," said Barry Meyer, the chairman of Warner Brothers. "We'd gotten so much grief from everybody. What does it mean? What is it?"

Good question. Some people thought CW might stand for "the country western network," said Leslie Moonves, the chairman of the CBS Corporation, who along with Mr. Meyer will oversee the new network. Other people suggested it might be "the conventional wisdom network."

Mr. Moonves explained that the CW name had been thrown together hurriedly because of the rushed nature of the merger last winter. The C came from CBS and the W from Warner Brothers. "And we certainly weren't going to call it the WC network," Mr. Moonves said.

Name aside, the prime purpose for establishing what both Mr. Meyer and Mr. Moonves hope will be a fifth major broadcast network is to ensure that the production studios each company owns, Warner Brothers Television and CBS/Paramount Television, will have a distribution outlet to make long-term assets out of the studios' programs.

One crucial decision that sealed the merger was an agreement that whenever a studio owned by the network's parents gets a show onto CW, the other studio will gain a 50 percent share in it.

But making the network credible to its prime audience of teenagers and young adults is critical to its success, the two executives said, and to do so CW will need to put on the best programs available in the marketplace, not merely ones owned by the parent companies.

So outside studios, including Touchstone — owned, like ABC, by the Walt Disney Company — and NBC Universal Television, also have pilot projects at CW.

Mr. Moonves emphasized that as a new network, CW wants to add at least a few new shows, if only to signal that it has something of its own to offer.

"At CBS scheduling meetings, I always say: Don't fall in love with the new girl, don't get carried away," Mr. Moonves said. "With the CW, I might say: It's O.K. to fall in love with the new girl, instead of the old wife."

The new network has seven pilots under consideration, four from studios not owned by one of the network's two parent companies.

Dawn Ostroff, the president of entertainment and chief programmer, said some of the promising shows included "Aquaman," a drama holdover from WB, and a comedy from Paramount, "She Said, He Said," starring Jessica Simpson's estranged husband, the gossip magazine superstar Nick Lachey.

From other studios, the network is looking at a reality show about forming a new all-girl singing group and a comedy from NBC Universal, "Aliens in America," about a Muslim exchange student moving in with a Wisconsin family.

The latter show reflects one strategic goal of the new network: trying to match its programming with the diversity of its intended audience. Ms. Ostroff said research the network had seen underscored how extremely diverse the 18-to-34-year-old television audience is.

"Thirty-five percent are minorities," she said. "And it's a big audience. There are 72 million Americans from the age of 25 down. That's the biggest group since the Baby Boomers."

For all the effort to carve out a new identity, however, much of what will be introduced this month on the first CW schedule is expected to be quite familiar to both advertisers and viewers.

"We could probably build a stand-pat schedule," Mr. Moonves said, noting that there were already enough shows working on WB and UPN to cherry-pick a cross section from each and fill the 13 hours that CW will program in prime time.

CW is not making anything official yet, but among the shows that Mr. Moonves and Ms. Ostroff said would almost surely be included on the new schedule are "America's Next Top Model" and "Everybody Hates Chris" from UPN and "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" from WB.

Other probable contenders include "Veronica Mars," and several of the shows from the Monday night UPN comedy lineup of "One on One, " All of Us," "Girlfriends," and "Half and Half" as well as "Supernatural" and "Beauty and the Geek" from WB.

But marrying the two part-time networks will not be as easy as simply picking the most popular shows. For one thing, each network had quite different identities.

Shari Anne Brill, vice president and director of programming for Carat USA, a media buying firm, said that CW faced a serious challenge in making its shows appeal across the broad demographic it hopes to reach.

"The WB was not especially diverse creatively," she said, pointing to the lineup of angst-ridden, virtually all-white teenage-oriented shows that have dominated its programming.

By contrast, UPN grouped a batch of comedies with African-American casts on Mondays, giving it a stronger appeal to black viewers. But it has had more problems than WB in getting high prices for its programs.

WB took in about twice as much money from advertisers during the last upfront sales period. Now the two networks will have their shows mixed together. "We have to find the right flow," Ms. Ostroff said.

Still, there is no dispute over the necessity, from a business perspective, of combining the two struggling networks, analysts said.

"It was absolutely the right decision to merge," said Michael A. Kupinski, a media analyst with A. G. Edwards. Each network was losing money on its own, he pointed out. But mixing the networks, he cautioned, does not necessarily mean the new entity will instantly be more successful than the two were separately.

"One and one does not necessarily equal two in this case," Mr. Kupinski said — or even 1.5, he added.

Mr. Moonves agreed that simply putting the two networks together did not mean that the audiences from each would also merge. Some viewers will simply be set free and could migrate to other networks. Fox, as the other network with the youngest audience profile, could well enjoy some ratings bounce out of the change.

"We're making no predictions" about how CW will do in its first year, Mr. Moonves said. But he came awfully close.

"Day 1, we're going to be profitable at the network," he said. "Day 2, the stations we are on will be much stronger. And Day 3 we're going to have great programs that we'll each co-own. So that's a winner on three different levels."

So what about the name? At the meeting in March, the marketing department offered a list of about 15 potential names.

The selections were aimed at being as hip as possible: the Evo network; the Now network. There was a proposal to call it NXTV (as in "Next TV") or XYTV (for the audience generations being spoken to), or something even more avant-garde: the Angle network.

Then the market research people chimed in. Based only on the attention the announcement of the merged new network had received, the name CW had achieved a national awareness level of a surprising 48 percent, according to their own surveys.

"It took us three years to reach a level like that with the WB," Mr. Meyer said.

So much for Angle or XYTV. When executives from the new network meet this month with advertisers at the sales presentations known as the upfronts, it will be as the CW network. Asked his goal for CW this season, Mr. Meyer said, "Two brand-new hit shows."

But Mr. Moonves, knowing how fickle the audience is, was not so demanding. "I'd take one," he said.

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indiedan
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posted May 18, 2006 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can the CW make TV a five horse race?

The new network created from the merger of the UPN and WB is hoping to catch up to big boys ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC with a focus on younger viewers.

By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com senior writer

May 18, 2006: 3:27 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Media giants CBS and Time Warner are hoping that one plus one will add up to five.

The two companies, which announced in January that they were merging their UPN and WB networks to create a new network called the CW, unveiled the fall schedule for the CW on Thursday at an event in New York. Time Warner (Research) also owns CNNMoney.com.

Despite several hits, neither UPN nor WB ever became more than a niche network catering largely to younger viewers and, in the case of the UPN, an African-American audience. Ratings for the two networks separately paled in comparison to those of the big four networks: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

But executives from the CW expressed optimism at the network's first upfront presentation for advertisers, noting they took the best shows from both UPN and WB to create their new lineup.

"Determining this lineup was like playing fantasy football but with TV shows," said Dawn Ostroff, CW head of entertainment, at the upfront event.

The 2006-2007 schedule for the CW includes six popular shows from the old WB and six from the UPN, including "Everybody Hates Chris," "Veronica Mars," "Smallville" and "The Gilmore Girls." Only two new shows will debut on the CW this fall.

"The CW is one of the big boys from the get-go," said Bill Morningstar, the executive vice president of national sales for the CW.

Greater than the sum of its parts?
Several industry analysts also said that they liked what they saw.

"It looks like they put together a strong lineup. The network should do better together than the UPN and WB did separately," said Mark Fratrik, vice president with BIA Financial Network, a strategic consulting firm for the media and communications industries.

During the presentation, Ostroff also highlighted how viewers will be able to view CW shows and related content through the Web, cell phones and on Apple's iPod media player. Ostroff added that the CW's Web site will feature several interactive and social networking elements catering to the network's mostly younger audience.

She also introduced a concept that the network called "content wraps": mini-shows that would appear three times a night during commercials that could be sponsored by advertisers and feature product promotion.

Each "content wrap" would tell a story. The example Ostroff gave was of two people going on a blind date.

One media buyer said that the concept was interesting and that if done effectively could keep viewers from using digital video recorders (DVRs) to fast forward through ads.

"The content wraps looked smart. It's the type of opportunity that marketers want," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of corporate research for Horizon Media, a marketing firm. He added that younger viewers in particular may be interested in these types of mini-shows.

And along those lines, Ostroff said the CW intends to have a "laser-focus" on the 18-34 year old demographic and claimed that it is the only network with such a commitment to this group.

News Corp. could be tough competition
That is a matter of debate, though. On Tuesday, News Corp. (Research) showcased the programs for its new network called MyNetworkTV.

MyNetworkTV, like the CW, has agreements with affiliate stations which will allow it to reach more than 90 percent of the country and will be exclusively showing soap operas on a nightly basis that feature mostly young casts and appears to be targeted at exactly the same audience the CW is going after.

Nonetheless, Adgate said that the CW probably should fare well as it begins to negotiate with marketers for ad commitments. But he thinks advertisers shouldn't expect a runaway ratings surge overnight.

"The CW should do very well in the upfront. There a lot of advertisers that want to go after 18-34 year olds," Adgate said. "But I don't think the CW will necessarily double its ratings because of the merger."

One factor that could cause the CW some ratings trouble is tough competition from that other network owned by News Corp: Fox. It also has a strong focus on younger viewers.

Fox unveiled its fall lineup on Thursday morning as well and it will show previews of new shows to advertisers on Thursday afternoon. Fox is the last of the six prime-time networks to make its upfront presentation.

Fox, which is currently riding high in the 18-49 demographic thanks to hits such as "House," "24," "Prison Break" and some show called "American Idol," is bringing back most of this year's successful lineup. It is introducing only five new shows for the fall.

The only network that had a lower amount of turnover was CBS (Research), which announced on Wednesday that it was adding only four new shows to its fall roster.

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indiedan
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posted July 18, 2006 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CW is new network with new, old shows
Dish on ‘Gilmore,’ ‘Veronica Mars,’ ‘Chris’ and more
CW: Not the country-western network
The CW, the new network that resulted from the combination of UPN and the WB, is presenting today at the TV Critics’ Association meeting. We’re all bathed in a wash of green, since green is the network’s color and their new logo is everywhere. Their pages got the worst of it, though, these helpful young folks who hand critics’ microphones out at the presentations are decked out in bright green blazers over white shirts, pants and ties (for the men) and green blouses with white jackets and skirts (for the women). Looks kind of like a Shamrock Shake convention. Or slightly Oompa Loompa-y.

CW president Dawn Ostroff’s name is well-known (and perhaps well-cursed) by various fan bases across the U.S., thanks to her role in deciding which shows survived (“America’s Next Top Model,” duh) and which didn’t (“Everwood”) when UPN and WB took that long walk off the Santa Monica Pier.

Ostroff announced the new network’s official premiere date will be Sept. 20, with a two-hour “Top Model” premiere. Shows will continue to roll out through the next three weeks, with “Veronica Mars” getting the latest premiere, Oct. 3. Shows are grouped in theme nights, with “7th Heaven” leading into new drama “Runaway” on Mondays, “Smallville” preceding “Supernatural” on Thursdays, and, the biggie, “Gilmore Girls” starting the estrogen flowing before “Veronica Mars” on Tuesdays. UPN will officially go dark Sept. 15, with the WB turning out the lights on the 17th. Reruns and specials will run on those channels before the CW takes them over. The CW is trying to skew young, aiming for 18-34 year olds, the only network specifically targeting that group.

One aspect of the new CW that’s almost as controversial as anything involving its shows: The network is selling something called “content wraps” (note the initials) to its advertisers. Essentially they’re three-part mini-shows into which product placement is shoehorned in. A product, say a makeup line, would buy the entire night on one show. Then instead of cutting to commercials, the show will cut to part one, two, or three of the content wrap, in which a real couple might be given makeovers (using the sponsors’ products, duh) before going on a filmed blind date.

So if you’re not getting enough plugs for Lash Exact mascara on “Top Model” itself, you could get more in the content wraps. My sense is that they’re like the advertorials so many magazines now run—the content is bought and paid for, but they try to put legitimate looking content around it so the viewer doesn’t feel the product is beating him or her over the head. Yet in the example shown, an eye doctor is seen fitting the male half of the blind date for contacts while exclaiming “This contact lens is brand new!” Wow. Subtle.

“Everwood”
TV Guide’s Michael Ausiello asked Ostroff about the “Everwood” cancellation, making the CW execs aware of the online campaign by fans to transport a Ferris wheel to the CW executive offices this week. Ostroff took the news that a carnival ride was coming to her workplace with aplomb, claiming it was an “agonizing decision” to cancel “Everwood” but allowing that it was “never really able to anchor a night.” And can I just say” A Ferris wheel? I remember when folks were sending cans of Raviolios to try and keep “Relativity” on the air. That didn’t work either, but at least was a bit smaller in scope. (A Ferris wheel was featured in the “Everwood” finale, Raviolios were a favorite of a “Relativity” cast member.)

“7th Heaven”
Speaking of seemingly doomed shows, “7th Heaven” was saved from the dustbin of history at the last second. Ostroff’s plot info for that show: Haylie Duff’s character, Sandy, will be entering seminary school in the new season. Duff will be appearing in Broadway’s “Hairspray,” and some of her scenes will be shot in New York as she is located there for the time being. Ostroff did agree that some other “Heaven” regulars might slip into recurring roles only, but promised that the Camden parents and Lucy will remain series regulars.

“One Tree Hill”
She touched briefly on the decision to bring back “One Tree Hill,” saying while the show is “not a critic’s darling,” it “has a great audience for us,” and that the show could have turned into a bona fide hit had it stayed behind “Gilmore Girls.” (The Yule Log could also become a hit with a “Gilmore” lead-in, is my guess.) She added that the network “felt there was a lot of room for [“One Tree Hill”] to grow.”

Other CW notes:

Whoopi Goldberg will appear on multiple episodes of “Everybody Hates Chris.” She’ll play a neighbor of the family, Tyler James Williams, the actor who plays young Chris, told me. He hasn’t met her yet, but he said he’s really excited about working with her.
At midseason, look for a new Kevin Williamson show, “Hidden Palms,” which features one of my favorite “American Dreams” alumni, Gail O’Grady, fresh from the wreck of “Hot Properties.” “Reba” is also on the shelf awaiting a midseason call.
Ostroff was vague about the departure of “Gilmore Girls” executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, but she did say “it’s hard to follow in Sherman-Palladino’s footsteps.” (More on Gilmore Girls in its own entry.)
Random notes from the day:

Amazing what you learn from the LA Times’ health session. Apparently what I have always called “trampolines” are now called “rebounders.” I love LA. (No, I really do…but…”rebounders”?)
When I grabbed some Internet time on a computer provided for general press use, I found its home page had been set to that of the American Headache Society. Insert your own joke here.
It’s my first press tour, but I catch on fast: I’ve learned that if you want to be sure to get a question asked, ask it at a panel for a new show. The old shows are familiar to so many people that critics are jumping over each other to get their questions in, but the new-show panels sometimes feature some uncomfortable silences.
Former TV critic and now network publicity guy Keith Marder apparently is known for starting things off with a comedy routine. His best two jokes: That the CW’s new slogan is “Two wrongs [UPN and the WB, one presumes] DO make a right,” and a comparison of the World Cup to “The Sopranos”: “The Italians won, everybody watched, and now they’ll go away for four years.”

“Runaway,” a.k.a. “The Fugitive: Family Edition”
The CW has only two new shows (they’re busy enough cranking out all the bright green logo material); one drama, “Runaway,” and one comedy, “The Game.”

“Runaway,” slotted for Monday nights, has some promise: Think of it as “The Fugitive: Family Edition.” A family of five goes on the run when the dad is falsely (or so we believe) accused of murder. They’re changing names, changing cars, trying to live on cash-only, all while staying a step ahead of the US Marshals. It’s hard to discount any show that involves Darren Star, since he was involved with “Sex and the City,” “Melrose Place” and “90210.” The cast includes Donnie Wahlberg, Leslie Hope (doomed wife Teri Bauer on “24”), and “American Dreams” fans will note the return of Sarah Ramos in another bratty little sister role. She played Patty Pryor on “Dreams” and plays a snarky sis again here.

Again, the show fits the serialized drama theme we’re seeing so much of this year. But Star says “it’s definitely the kind of show you can come into and [just] watch an episode.” Chimed in exec producer Ed Zuckerman “You couldn’t make a worse mistake than to produce a show that people can’t jump into any time.”

Executive producer Chad Hodge promises a “family thriller,” telling stories of the character and their relationships as well as revealing a little piece of the murder mystery each week. And Star also promised that the mystery would be solved, mentioning that it wouldn’t be like “Lost,” which he said is “going into season 3 and nobody knows what’s going on yet.”

“Runaway” notes

Leslie Hope’s character cuts her hair once she goes on the run. This allows Hope to display the most elegant neck this side of “Swan Lake.” Giraffes should be jealous of this woman.
Sarah Hodges, on playing another bratty sis so soon after “American Dreams.”: “I guess I’m just good at being annoying.”
Eight-year-old actor Nathan Gamble, on his role as the family’s youngest son in such a complex plot: “I really don’t know what’s going on.”
Donnie Wahlberg’s biggest round of applause came when it was announced that he shot Bruce Willis’ character in “The Sixth Sense.” No fans for Bruno?

‘The Game’ hopes to score with “Girlfriends” fans
“The Game” is the CW’s only new comedy, and it’s a “Girlfriends” spinoff — many of the characters were introduced on a “Girlfriends” episode. It focuses on the women who are involved with the pro football players on a fictional team, the San Diego Sabers. Mara Brock Akil, who created “Girlfriends” and is executive producer of “The Game,” was on the panel, as well as numerous cast members.

The show made two major casting changes after the pilot shown to critics was sent out – not usually a good sign. But one of the casting changes allowed them to bring in Brittany Daniel, who played bad twin Jessica Wakefield on “Sweet Valley High,” which allowed me to get that show’s catchy and annoying theme song stuck in my head throughout this panel. (“Look right down in a crowded hall…you’ll see there’s a beauty standing. … could there be two different girls who look the same?”)

While the cast is mostly African-American, Daniel’s character is a white woman married to a light-skinned black man. “He’s light, bright, and damn near white,” says one character in the pilot. Mara Brock Akil said she wanted to deal with that issue right away, saying “the show is not about race, but there’s an aspect that we will talk about.” (Cast member Coby Bell had fun with that, mock-asking: “So, what, um, Brittany’s white?”)

This panel was a fun one, with the cast obviously at ease with each other and each of them willing to crack jokes and jump on each other’s lines. I don’t know if the show will make it, but the CW is placing it after “Girlfriends” on Sunday, so the audience for one might appreciate the other.

Playbook for “The Game”

Mara Brock Akil mentioned that “The Game” might reach out to singers and actresses to play fictionalized versions of themselves, since star football players often date them. “Can we get Beyonce? That’s all I want to know,” cracked star Hosea Chanchez.
Wendy Raquel Robinson plays a player’s mother who had him at just 15, and is only 39 herself. She’s also his “momma-ger” – football code for a mother-manager. One plotline may include the ubiquitous Campbell’s Soup commercials featuring football players’ mothers, and Robinson’s character’s attempt to land such an ad.
Brittany Daniel has a twin, but so does star Tia Mowry. Star Coby Bell snarked “If anything should happen to either of you, we have backup.”
Detroit News reporter Mekesia Madden Toby asked if the show would deal with the “downlow,” the name used when African-American men have secret gay relationships. Brock Akil said there may be gay football players introduced, but none of the main characters. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” blurted out Bell, citing the famous “Seinfeld” line about being gay.

Chris Rock rocks the house
Was that a press conference or a comedy routine? It was hard to tell from all the laughs coming from the room where Chris Rock and fellow “Everybody Hates Chris” exec producer Ali LeRoi, Jada Pinkett Smith from “All of Us,” and Mara Brock Akil (again) were holding court. The clips, especially from “Everybody Hates Chris,” drew real belly laughs from the critics, as did Rock’s unscripted responses.

Many questions were asked about the lack of many black-led shows on TV, and why there are no dramas where the main characters are mostly African-American, with the exception of Taye Diggs’ new show “Day Break.” (Look for a report on that later this week.) “You gotta ask the white people that,” said Rock. “Cause when you’re black, everything’s dramatic!” LeRoi mentioned “The Wire,” and “Lost” as examples of shows that do integrate a diverse cast, especially praising J.J. Abrams, producer of “Lost” and “Alias.”

Although “Girlfriends” and “All of Us” were discussed briefly, “Everybody Hates Chris” dominated the discussion. Rock was asked if the show’s move from Thursday to Sunday would help or hurt it, but he says viewers will find it. “Most things suck,” he said “If something’s funny, people will know.” LeRoi addressed the fact that “Chris” will be on the same night as Sunday night football, saying, tongue in cheek, that “I suggest people stop watching football. Sit down and watch family-oriented programming, it’ll lead to a better nation.”

Reporters tried to dig for tidbits about what will happen to Chris and family this season. “There’s gonna be a massacre at school, but it’s gonna be funny,” joked Rock. Later he relented and gave a little more information, saying young Chris would be exploring his sexuality a little bit and getting to know his neighborhood more. The show will remain about the family, not about issues du jour. “There’s no big Reaganomics episode that’s gonna happen,” he said. But there will be another Christmas-themed episode (last year, some parents watching with their kids had to do some explaining when the show said Santa Claus didn’t exist).

Rock was also asked what his mother thinks of Rochelle, the character based on her and portrayed by Tichina Arnold (Rock thinks Arnold was robbed of an Emmy nomination, and I agree.). His mother likes the portrayal, he said, adding “As my mother ages, she tries to act like she did nothing wrong [in my childhood]. She’s doing her heaven campaign. She’s like, ‘hey, I didn’t yell at you like that’.”

The first season of “Everybody Hates Chris” will hit DVD this fall, Rock said, and it will feature commentary by him. He also confided that of the 22 first episodes, he hated three of them, but he wouldn’t reveal which three. “I got three uncles I hate too, but I won’t tell them,” he said.

“All of Us”
Pinkett Smith revealed that Neesee and Robert’s living together “has got to stop,” noting that Neesee wants more children, and can’t pursue her life with her ex-husband living with her. She said a suggestion might be that the two go in together on one apartment where son Bobby Jr. lives all the time, with the parents, instead of the child, being the ones split between two homes.

“Girlfriends”
Mara Brock Akil shared that Jill Marie Jones, who played Toni, is not returning to “Girlfriends.” Brock Akil hopes to use the loss of that friendship as a plot point for the character of Joan, Toni’s grade-school friend, to explore. Maya and Darnell will be dealing with a long-distance marriage. The show will deal with some of the issues surrounding career success, with Maya’s book deal, Joan’s restaurant, and other characters’ careers.

Random fun from Rock’s panel

Ali LeRoi’s provided biography answered one long-wondered Hollywood question: If you produced “Pootie Tang,” you will have to live with it on your resume. (Critic Roger Ebert gave “Pootie Tang” a half-star, and, among his kinder words, wrote “This movie is not in a releasable condition.”)
When asked if the merger of UPN and the WB gave any of the panel pause, millionaire Rock cracked “I thought I might have to drive a cab.”
Jada Pinkett Smith was asked about her musical career (her heavy-metal band, Wicked Wisdom, has appeared on the David Letterman show), and she said she was “going out [on tour] with Alice Cooper in August.”
I later chatted with child actors Tyler James Williams, who plays young Chris, and Vincent Martella, who plays his pal Greg. Charming kids, and very well-spoken. Tyler told me his favorite episode is “Everybody Hates Drew,” in which he takes karate lessons to compete with his younger brother, and that he’s looking forward to meeting Whoopi Goldberg. Martella is up for a Teen Choice award (he wondered who was hosting, and was surprised when I told him it was Jessica Simpson. Martella is also providing the voice for Phineas in the new Disney pilot “Phineas and Ferb,” about two stepbrothers with a pet platypus.

Hanging with the ‘Gilmore Girls’
Is there a show out there with more devoted fans than “Gilmore Girls”? Is there a show with fans more upset about developments in their show’s season finale, when Lorelai and Rory’s father, Christopher, slept together? Both “Girls,” Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and Alexis Bledel (Rory), as well as new show-runner (read: boss) David Rosenthal, showed up to be quizzed on the “Gilmore” past and present.

Of course, the departure of show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and husband Daniel was a hot topic. Rosenthal said Sherman-Palladino “made it very easy” for him to take over, and left him with a lot of juicy dramatic issues to take on. Graham said she was a “huge fan of Amy and Dan,” but also seemed to indicate the new staff was more receptive to input. Still, she made one thing clear “if you write anything that makes me sound like I said something negative about Amy and Dan, I will be upset. … They gave me the best job I’ve ever had.”

And of course, the Lorelai-Christopher pairing was discussed. Fans are not happy, and the panel confirmed that Christopher will be a semi-regular character this season. (Michael Ausiello has more on the fan anger here.) Rosenthal pretty much said that it would make for “pretty boring television” if the couple the fans want to see together, Luke and Lorelai, ended up happily together with no obstacles. Lauren Graham also addressed the issue, saying that “if everything had gone the way the fans wanted it to go … I would just be calling Rory, like ‘What are you doing tonight?’ ” Graham also said she wasn’t too thrilled with Lorelai’s character last season (Ausiello called the character a “wuss,” and Graham didn’t disagree.)

Is this the last season of “Gilmore”? Rumors are flying that both Graham and Bledel want out. Rosenthal said he’s not approaching this as the final season, and Graham and Bledel were evasive. Graham said she wouldn’t go into a season that way, and wants to wait and see, but that “our legal contracts are up.”

It’s been reported that Sherman-Palladino had planned out the eventual ending of “Gilmore Girls,” whenever that may be. Rosenthal and the cast say they don’t know what it will be, but Rosenthal says he would ask, should the show seem about to end, whether next year or five years from now. Lauren Graham said she’d heard the show ends with two words, and called for guesses. The only one ventured? “You’re pregnant.” (How about “I do,” and ending with either Rory or Lorelai’s wedding? That’s also two words.)

Things got really weird in this panel for a minute when a reporter asked about Rosenthal’s past, saying “it was widely reported about six years ago that you left because you were obsessed with Heidi Klum. You left town and you left your family.” Rosenthal and Graham were quick to shut that reporter down and say they wouldn’t even address such personal questions, but the jolting topic sent reporters frantically Googling “David Rosenthal” and “Heidi Klum.” This Defamer link was the most commonly found article on the piece, and I know nothing more than that. Except to say maybe it’s a good thing the CW doesn’t air the Klum-hosted “Project Runway.”
Lauren Graham didn’t attend the CW party after the day’s panels. And maybe that was smart: Every time I saw Alexis Bledel there, she was mobbed, and I couldn’t get near her. I’d gotten closer, actually, to her lovely blue and beige dress, which I saw a handler carefully carrying through the hotel on a hanger earlier.
Graham loves dogs, but not Paul Anka, the dog on the show. “I’m like, ‘Oh, he rolled over and spoke,’ or something. I’m just like ‘Uck’.”

‘Veronica Mars’ stays in orbit
“Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell and executive producer and show creator Rob Thomas presented the final panel of the day. The show has been renewed, but only for 13 episodes rather than the customary 22.

Thomas explained that he is planning three separate mysteries for the season – the first to run nine episodes, the second seven, and the third mystery six episodes – all assuming the show runs the full 22 shows. He’d apparently heard complaints that the second season was too confusing, what with two concurrent mysteries lasting 22 episodes with a jumble of suspects, and so decided to keep things simpler in season three. Assuming there is a full season three. Thomas notes that he believes the show is “in a make-or-break time now,” and needs to do well in its new 9 p.m. Tuesday time slot in order to survive.

The action in season three will revolve around life at Hearst College, though Veronica will continue living at home. Veronica, new series regular Tina, Logan, Wallace, and bully Dick Casablancas will all be Hearst students. New regulars will include Stosh Piznarski, Wallace’s roommate, and a roommate for Tina named Parker. Charisma Carpenter will also return as Kendal Casablancas for at least one appearance. Teddy Dunn’s character, Duncan Kane, will not be returning.

Giant photos from the show were projected next to the panelists as they spoke, and as one shot of Bell in a white tank top hit the screens, she moaned “Honestly, I’m so over it! Can we get a new picture?”
Special Agent Veronica Mars? Joked Thomas: “I want [Veronica] to bang out college in three years so we can get her into Quantico for FBI training. I have big plans. We need to start building sets now for that stuff.”
Bell and Thomas were also asked about the fans who hired a plane to fly between UPN’s old headquarters and the CW’s new ones carrying a banner that read “Renew Veronica Mars CW 2006.” (Thomas noted, however, that network brass were in NY, not LA, when the plane flew.) Bell called the actions “crazy and really awesome,” and noted that “there’s no one that’s dumb who watches ‘Veronica Mars’. ”
Thomas mentioned that the show had asked fan Stephen King to play a role, though he couldn’t do so. “You said you like ‘Veronica Mars,’ there’s a good chance you’re going to be asked to be on it,” he said. Which of course led to the very next question coming from a reporter who noted he was a “huge fan of ‘Veronica Mars,’ and who was then asked by Thomas “can you play a cop?”(Rob, if you’re reading this: I’ll start practicing my Miranda warning now.)
Thomas says he checks online message boards, particularly Television Without Pity (whose creators, Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting, both also write for MSNBC.com), to see if the “Mars” mysteries are being solved too quickly or not. “I consider it successful it somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the audience had the killer picked,” he said. (Bell said she only reads email and laughs at YouTube videos and doesn’t visit message boards.)
There may be some truth to the fact that I stalked Kristen Bell into the ladies’ room. It may be simply that I felt a sudden need to wash my hands. Over and over, until she came out and stood next to me washing her hands. It may also be true that I’ll deny this if you quote me.

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posted September 21, 2006 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CW NETS BIG 'MODEL' AUD; 'Model' debut for CW CW struts its stuff in bow
Looks like young adults know where to find the CW on their remotes. A huge sigh of relief could be heard in the exec suites of Burbank and Brentwood on Thursday when opening-night numbers came in for the nascent net. Its "America's Next Top Model" bowed bigger than ever, actually winning Wednesday among adults under 35 and dominating in the New York market. CBS captured the night in key broader measures, meanwhile, with its drama lineup of the returning "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY" -- Wednesday's top two shows -- and a pretty good start for new small-town/mushroom-cloud drama "Jericho." News wasn't as good for NBC's new "Kidnapped," which struggled to a third-place finish in its premiere. For the CW, a merger of sorts between CBS Corp. (UPN) and Warner Bros. (the WB), Wednesday's launch was the culmination of a months-long marketing plan. More than 70% of "Top Model" viewers Wednesday night were watching the hit show on a different channel than in previous seasons. "We were prepared for the worst and pleasantly surprised at the outcome," CW Entertainment prexy Dawn Ostroff said. "It was really hard to bring everyone in. I thought we'd start off slow, and our goal was by the end of the season to get all the viewers back. "But to have grown on 'Top Model,' that was beyond our expectation." Ostroff credited the CW's stronger batch of stations (having cherry-picked several top WB and UPN affils), as well as the net's "strategic marketing." "We looked at each market and created a very specific campaign to migrate 'Top Model' viewers from the old UPN affiliate to the new CW station," she said. "Next week, we'll be doing the same thing with 'Gilmore Girls.' " According to national in-home viewing estimates from Nielsen for Wednesday, "America's Next Top Model" averaged a 2.6 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 5.26 million viewers overall kicking off its seventh edition. While it placed fourth in these categories, it moved to the timeslot lead in adults 18-34 (3.2/10), peaking at 9:30 with a 5.4/14. Show set or matched preem records in both 18-34 and 18-49. Best story of the night for CW came in Gotham, where Nielsen People Meter data shows former WB station KPIX generating a huge 7.6 rating/25 share in women 18-34 -- topping ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox combined. "Model" also won in its core femmes 18-34 demo in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta and Detroit. The net's strategy of opening premiere week with only its two established UPN shows ("Top Model" and tonight's "WWE Smackdown") looks to be a smart one. Although there's no guarantee things will run smoothly next week, it will likely be easier for the net to get people to former WB shows like "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" since roughly 63% of CW affils (including seven of the top 10 markets) had been WB stations. Given the CW's perf in its key adult 18-34 measurement Wednesday night, Ostroff said she was more sure than ever that her net is filling a demo void. "We can become a very successful network going after this demo," she said.

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posted November 10, 2006 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CW: one plus one doesn't equal three
The new youth-oriented network, created from the merger of the WB and UPN, is off to a tough start. But some still see hope for a ratings revival.
By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com editor at large
November 10 2006: 12:36 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Does the CW stand for Can't Win?

The new CW television network, created from the merger of UPN and WB, has gotten off to a rough start since it launched in September.

According to data from Nielsen Media Research, the CW has averaged about 3.4 million viewers overall in prime-time during the first seven weeks of the new TV season and 1.9 million in the 18-49 demographic that advertisers desire most.

By way of comparison, the WB, owned by media giant Time Warner (Charts), averaged about 3.6 million viewers overall and about 2 million in the 18-49 demographic at this point a year ago. (Time Warner also owns CNNMoney.com.) And the UPN, owned by CBS (Charts), was also pulling in about 3.6 million overall and 1.9 million in the 18-49 age group.

And based on figures provided by the CW, the network is off to a sluggish start in the key November "sweeps" period, with overall ratings during the first few days of November flat when compared to the WB and UPN during the same period last year.

The "sweeps" months of November, February and May are important since they include the most detailed amount of ratings data and are relied on by the networks and marketers when negotiating advertising rates for the following season.

Ratings among 18-49 year olds and 18-34 year olds, the market that the CW is specifically targeting, are also unchanged from a year ago so far this November.

When the merger was announced in January, some television industry experts believed that the combination of these two struggling networks would create a stronger network that would be able to compete more effectively with the big four: Walt Disney's (Charts) ABC, CBS, General Electric (Charts)-owned NBC and News Corp.'s (Charts) Fox.

"Out of the box, this is disappointing. Most people thought the CW would be slightly above what the UPN and WB had done on an individual basis," said Brad Adgate, senior vice president of corporate research for Horizon Media, a media buying firm.

After all, the WB and UPN cherry-picked the best shows from each network to create the CW lineup. The CW launched with only two new shows. The rest were returning series from the other networks, such as the WB's "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" and UPN's "America's Top Model" and "Veronica Mars."

"There was hope that the way the CW selected the shows, above average performers on the WB and UPN would carry over and find an audience," said Lyle Schwartz, an analyst with Mediaedge:cia, a media buying firm in New York. "But the CW skews to a younger audience that is very quick to move to and away from programs."

Paul McGuire, a spokesman for the CW, admitted that it's been a challenging start. Viewers had to get used to an entirely new network. And many people used to watching their favorite UPN shows also had to deal with trying to find the show on a new channel, because in their markets the new CW is running on former WB affiliates. Several shows also switched nights.

But he said it's not fair to grade the network's progress after only seven weeks.

"We live in an instant gratification snapshot culture but internally we've been preaching patience," he said.

McGuire said the network was pleased with the results it has seen from "America's Top Model" on Wednesdays --its ratings are actually higher than a year ago -- and that "Smallville" and "Supernatural" are holding up reasonably well on Thursdays, the night McGuire referred to as "the land of giants" since it features TV's first and third top-rated shows, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Mondays and Tuesdays have been problems though. The network moved its block of comedies from Sunday nights to Monday nights and although ratings have improved since the switch, the numbers for "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Girlfriends" are lower than a year ago.

On Tuesdays, it's a mixed bag. "Veronica Mars," formerly on the UPN, has enjoyed a slight bump in ratings from a year ago but "Gilmore Girls," one of the WB's signature shows, has seen a notable drop in viewers.

Still, despite the network's initial ratings struggles, media buyers say that the CW remains an intriguing option for advertisers, mainly because it has such a devoted core audience of younger viewers.

"The CW is the only broadcast network that consistently delivers an audience with a median age under 35 so it's not going away. There are advertisers that covet that demographic," Horizon's Adgate said.

But in order for the network to become a bigger success, the CW will need to launch more new hits instead of relying only on older shows from the WB and UPN, media buyers believe. The CW has already cancelled one of this fall's new shows, "Runaway." And its other debut, "The Game" is not a completely new show since it's a spin-off of "Girlfriends."

"The biggest challenge for the CW is development. They need more signature shows," said Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming with Katz Television Group, a media buying and consulting firm.

But McGuire defends the network's decision to not launch too many new shows in conjunction with the CW's debut. He argues that a new network with lots of new shows would have led to an even bigger ratings decline.

"Some criticized us for not having that much new programming. But given the marketing we had to do with a brand new network and moving shows, if we had a plethora of new shows, we'd be seeing a considerable ratings contraction. We feel vindicated," he said.

McGuire added that the CW already has several new shows ready for its mid-season schedule, including another installment of the Ashton Kutcher-developed "Beauty and the Geek," a reality show focusing on the pop group The Pussycat Dolls and "Hidden Palms," a teen-oriented show created by Kevin Williamson, the man responsible for "Dawson's Creek," one of the WB's biggest hits.

Still, it may be tough for the CW to make significant gains in the ratings race as the season progresses. That's because Fox, which has had a poor start so far, is likely to come roaring back in January once the network brings back hit shows "24" and "American Idol."

McGuire concedes that "Idol" presents a particularly tough challenge for the CW since the show airs on multiple nights and is a big hit with many of the younger viewers that the CW targets.

"'American Idol' is a vaunted foe and is something to be obviously highly respected. We have to pick our spots for programming and promoting against it," said McGuire.

So advertisers will be keeping a close eye on the network's progress. While the CW's target market is attractive, advertisers may be cautious, especially as the Internet, with video sites like YouTube, which Google (Charts) is in the process of buying, and social networking sites like News Corp.'s MySpace, becomes more and more popular with teens and young adults.

"The CW does reach a younger part of the spectrum and that's valuable to advertisers. But the question is will the CW achieve ratings numbers that makes them both effective and efficient for advertisers," Mediaedge:cia's Schwartz said.

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posted May 15, 2007 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CW sees 'Aliens,' CBS renews 'Christine'

CW has handed out series orders to comedy "Aliens In America" and dramas "Gossip Girl," "Reaper" and the untitled South Africa project. Additionally, the network has renewed sci-fi dramas 'Smallville' and 'Supernatural' and teen soap "One Tree Hill" for next season, while comedy "All of Us" and drama "veronica Mars" won't be coming back. Over at CBS, the network has renewed comedies "How I Met Your Mother" and "Old Christine" and dramas "The Unit," "Shark," "Criminal Minds" and "Ghost Whisperer." Not coming back are comedy "The Class" and dramas "Jericho" and "Close to Home." "Aliens," now to be produced by CBS Paramount Network TV and Warner Bros. TV, centers on a teen Pakistani Muslim in the U.S. The pickup of "Gossip," also from WBTV, makes it two new series orders for "The O.C." creator Josh Schwartz, who also has dramedy "Chuck" ordered at NBC. "Reaper," from ABC Studios, is a comedic drama about the devil and his bounty hunter, while the CBS Par TV-produced South Africa project is an adaptation of the British family drama set at a South African game preserve

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posted April 19, 2008 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CW Yanks 'Gossip Girl' From The Web
While ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox continue to place shows on the Internet so that viewers may watch them on demand, the low-rated CW network said Thursday that it will reverse course and not make the remaining episodes of Gossip Girl, one of its more popular shows available for online streaming. In an interview with the New York Times, CW spokesman Paul McGuire suggested that Gossip Girl's online episodes may be cannibalizing the show's audience. Yanking the show off the Internet, he said, "is an experiment to see if this moves the [Nielsen ratings] needle at all." The show will continue to be available for purchase on Apple's iTunes store for $1.99 per episode. (The first new episode of the show since the writers' strike is due to air on April 21.

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posted April 30, 2008 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Duff Denies Plans To Star In '90210' Remake


Singer/actress Hilary Duff has denied she is in talks to join the cast of a new Beverly Hills, 90210 spin-off series. A contemporary series of the hit 1990s TV show has been commissioned by TV network The CW. The original show, which ran for 10 years from 1990 to 2000, starred Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling. Producers were reported to be courting 20-year-old Duff to take on one of the leading roles in the updated version. But Duff insists the reports are pure speculation. She tells Wenn, "No. That's not true at all." Duff shot to fame in hit Disney TV show Lizzie McGuire before launching a successful music and film career.

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posted August 05, 2008 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for N F S I 2   Click Here to Email N F S I 2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
W Making Lemonade From Critics' Lemons


In a unique advertising campaign, the CW network has pulled quotes from negative reviews for Gossip Girl, and is using them in billboard ads to promote the series. Among them, the New York Post's assertion that the show is "a nasty piece of work," and the Parents Television Council's description of it as "mind-blowingly inappropriate." The PTC did not object to its review being used by the network. "Normally," it said, "we have to pay for our outdoor advertising." Meanwhile, on Monday, Gossip Girl picked up six awards at the TeenChoice 2008 ceremony, including Choice TV Show: Drama. It also won for Choice TV: Breakout Show; Breakout Actress in a Drama and Breakout Star Female (Blake Lively), Breakout Star Male (Chace Crawford) and Villain (Ed Westwick).

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indiedan
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posted August 28, 2008 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The CW Unzips 90210


Just days after the Parents Television Council, the group campaigning for tighter "decency" standards on network television, accused the CW network of refusing to make available screeners of its upcoming 90210 series in advance so that advertisers could determine whether the content was suitable, the CW said that only TV critics would be unable to view the show prior to its debut. Advertising Age quoted a CW spokesman as saying, "We never said the show would not go through the normal channels. It will be going through the normal screening services before it premieres on Sept. 2."

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posted October 13, 2008 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HollywoodProducer   Click Here to Email HollywoodProducer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MRC shuts down two CW series; 'Easy Money,' 'Valentine, Inc.' no longer in production

The MRC experiment on the CW is facing an uncertain future. The independent producer, which in May inked a deal to program the CW's Sunday night, has shut down production on its two scripted series for the block, "Easy Money" and "Valentine, Inc." The move follows very low-rated first two airings for both series, which are bing put on 4- to 6-week hiatus. In their second outing Sunday, "Valentine" averaged 1 million viewers and a 0.4 rating/1 share among adults 28-49, while the well received "Easy Money" logged 750,000 viewers, 0.3/1 in 18-49, down 25% from the premiere.

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posted November 20, 2008 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CW Says It Is Retaking Control of Its Sunday TV Lineup

An effort by the CW network to sell off part of its prime-time schedule appeared to fall apart Thursday in the wake of low ratings for the Sunday schedule put together by an independent production company. Although the firm, Media Rights Capital, contracted to buy the Sunday hours for a year, the CW said it was ending the deal after three months out of concern that the low-rated lineup was hurting its affiliated stations. A spokeswoman for Media Rights Capital, Susan Arons, however, said Thursday that the company was still negotiating with the network over the deal’s future. She said Media Rights still retained the Sunday night slots. She also said that a report in the Hollywood trade publication Variety, which said Media Rights had failed to make its payments to the CW, was “categorically not true.” CW’s executives declined to comment, but its chief operating officer, John Maatta, sent a letter to affiliated stations saying that ending the $15 million deal was “a business and programming decision.” The letter said the M.R.C. programs filling five hours on Sunday nights were “simply not working.” The shows were consistently the lowest-rated on all five major national broadcast networks. The three original Media Rights shows — “Valentine,” “In Harm’s Way” and “Easy Money” — were ranked 122nd, 125th and 126th among prime-time shows, lower than anything on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox and CW. None of the shows was averaging more than 835,000 viewers. In their place, CW said it was offering shows culled from the libraries of its parent companies, Warner Brothers and CBS (which owns the Paramount television studio), as well as movies from the MGM studio. Initially, the network plans to use repeats of the first season of the comedy “Everybody Hates Chris” at 5 p.m. Sunday, repeats of the second year of the “Drew Carey Show” (owned by Warner Brothers) at 6 p.m. Sunday, repeats of the first season of the canceled CBS show “Jericho” at 7 p.m. and movies from 8 to 10 p.m. The movies will be relatively recent, if minor, MGM releases. The first, from 2002, is “Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course” with Steve Irwin, who died in 2006. In his letter, Mr. Maatta said, “Our plan is to program Sunday with distinctive, first-rate programming that can quickly stabilize the night.” He said CW had made progress this season by focusing on its weekday lineup. That roster includes shows like “Gossip Girl” and “90210” that have made a mark with the network’s desired audience of young women.

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posted January 13, 2009 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TV Guide Drops Listings For The CW, MTV

13 January 2009 1:32 AM, PST

TV Guide , once a fixture in nearly every U.S. home as the complete source for TV listings but which more recently has become mostly a fan magazine, has dropped listings for The CW broadcast network and the MTV cable network, TVWeek reported today (Tuesday). Los Angeles CW affiliate Ktla has asked viewers to complain to the magazine about the move. The magazine is reportedly notifying readers who are upset at the loss of listings for the two outlets to seek information about their programs online (although it did not specifically mention TVGuide.com, which was recently acquired by Lionsgate., while the magazine is owned by private-equity firm OpenGate Capital). TV Week observed that TV Guide continues to write feature articles about the programs aired by the two outlets, leading one CW staffer to remark, "It's a mystery to us why they'll put 90210 on their cover and constantly write about our shows but not tell their readers when our shows are on."

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