May 19, 2016



CW will continue to be DC Comics (and Greg Berlanti) TV.

Fall 2016 SBD Broadcast Prime Schedule with NBC FOX ABC CBS CW

For a network that only ordered three new shows (two of them for fall), CW has made quite a few changes in its new schedule, with DC Comics properties anchoring 4 nights of the week (and veteran Vampire Diaries the 5th) for stability, but with an almost complete turnaround in the 9PM schedule. Economically, CW continues to exist in a different universe from the other networks, paying extremely low license fees for all its shows (which are all produced in-house, by either network partner Warner Bros TV or CBS), which recoup their resulting deficits through streaming deals and international sales.  That allows CW to keep going despite non-superhero ratings that often rival basic cable (and not Walking Dead basic cable) at the 0.3-0.5 level.  It seems likely that despite the scheduling shifts, not much will change for the network in the fall.  Note: trailers for the new fall series are available here.

MONDAY:  People may not know where to find SUPERGIRL in the fall, but they’ll know when.  Despite the move from CBS, the show holds onto its Monday 8PM timeslot.  Supergirl was down to the low 1s on CBS, and that number is likely to decline by a tenth or two in the smaller environs of CW, although the audience should become much younger and more female.  The series is going to be more cheaply produced (it’s transferring production to Vancouver), although that will just put it in line with the rest of the CW superhero portfolio.  It should give Jane the Virgin its best chance to rise from its current tepid ratings status, where it’s stayed despite 2 seasons of critical praise and awards.  If Supergirl doesn’t boost Jane, the latter may start to be in real trouble.

TUESDAY:  Basically, the same plan as Monday, this time with The Flash providing a lead-in for the new NO TOMORROW, another comedy soap from a foreign format.  This one doesn’t have the grabby premise of Jane, nor–based on the trailer–Jane‘s distinctive stylistic quirks.  It will get some eyeballs thanks to its lead-in, but doesn’t seem likely to retain viewers any better than IZombie has.

WEDNESDAY:  Another superhero will do the heavy lifting, as Arrow leads in to the new FREQUENCY, based on a movie that hardly anyone remembers.  This pairing makes more sense, as Frequency, a crime drama with a time-travel-ish component, seems to have a compatible dark tone.  Arrow hasn’t been as strong as it was in the past, but this could be a consistently solid night.

THURSDAY:  Legends of Tomorrow has been the weakest of CW’s DC superhero shows, and this time the help flows the other way, as it will be coupled with Supernatural, a show that seems to do well in any timeslot.  If Supernatural can help Legends from slipping to the non-superhero ratings level, it will have done its job.

FRIDAY:  It’s not clear what the declining Vampire Diaries can do for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as a lead-in. Vampire is nearing the end of its run (although the network refuses to confirm that this will be a farewell season), and it’s recently been rating just a tenth or two above Girlfriend.  The only good news for that show is that the bar is very low on Fridays, and if it can deliver the same numbers that it has on Mondays, it may survive to sing and dance another day.

The only new midseason series CW has is the Archie Comics revamp RIVERDALE (for which it didn’t make a trailer available), which is from Greg Berlanti because it seems like every CW show must be.  The rest of the bench consists of the returns of The Originals, Reign, IZombie and The 100.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."