May 8, 2013

THE SKED: Some Pre-Upfront Thoughts About CW’s Fall Schedule


See Also:  THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected NBC Fall 2013 Schedule

                 THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected FOX Fall 2013 Schedule

                 THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected ABC Fall 2013 Schedule

                 THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected CBS Fall 2013 Schedule


CW (pardon, “The” CW) is technically a broadcast network–and technically is the correct term, because what makes it a broadcaster is the fact that its programming is initially transmitted using broadcast technology.  (Even though, as with all the broadcast networks, 85% of the country ends up getting those signals via cable or satellite.)  The fact that its signals originate via broadcast means that it doesn’t get the cable/satellite subscription fees that its direct competitors like ABCFamily and MTV do, which has made CW dependent on an extremely lucrative deal with Netflix for its income stream (whether Netflix will choose to extend that deal when it expires in 2 years is an open and critical question for CW), as well as online streaming; CW is the only broadcast network to include almost a full load of on-air commercials in its streams (which happen to be particularly annoying because the network mostly repeats the same set of commercials over and over in each break).  In all other ways, including the narrowness of its niche audience, the number of hours it programs and the size of its ratings (The Vampire Diaries, Arrow and Supernatural get around a 1.0 rating, while the rest of the schedule is mired in the 0.4-0.5 area), CW is much more like a cable network.

Despite all that, CW will be up there with the big boys next week, presenting its fall schedule to the assembled advertisers and hordes of interested onlookers.  So let’s take a quick look at what that schedule might be:

MONDAY:  The network needs a new Monday, because its previous inhabitants Gossip Girl and 90210 are gone, and neither The Carrie Diaries nor Oh Sit are likely to survive.  CW will probably move an existing success to anchor the night, perhaps the reliable SUPERNATURAL.  It could serve as lead-in to one of the network’s otherworldly projects like THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, which hails from proven hitmakers Greg Berlanti (Arrow) and Julie Plec (Vampire Diaries).

TUESDAY:  The only surprise in CW’s renewals was the decision to bring back BEAUTY & THE BEAST, which has been a marginal performer even with a Vampire Diaries lead-in.  The show could pair with the returning HART OF DIXIE for a solid (by CW standards) if unspectacular night.

WEDNESDAY:  ARROW has done very well as the Wednesday anchor, and it should lead in to another pilot from CW’s bag of sci-fi romance, perhaps OXYGEN, a human/alien saga from senior The Good Wife writer Meredith Averill.

THURSDAY:  There’s no reason to touch THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, still the jewel in CW’s crown.  The obvious and very likely move will be to pair it with its own spin-off THE ORIGINALS, which has already been picked up to series.  The only question mark is whether the network is so high on Originals (which had a very strong pilot and features several Vampire fan favorites in the cast) that it thinks the show can hold its own night without its sire (heh heh) as lead-in.  That could put it on Monday or Tuesday, giving Beauty & the Beast the kind of mate it had this season, but the feeling here is that CW will let Originals have its sheltering lead-in to start, and if it clicks, perhaps make a move at midseason.

FRIDAY:  The consensus seems to be that NIKITA will get one more season, probably a shortened one, and while AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL has seen better days, it still does well enough for Fridays.

Do you have a better fall schedule?  Let us know below!


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."