The fledgling network, co-owned by CBS Corp. and Time Warner, said it has always intended to make the program's content available for marketers who want to determine if the show is suitable for their ads.
"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," said Paul McGuire, a CW spokesman.
While the CW will not make promotional discs containing individual episodes (also known as "screeners") of its teen drama available to critics or media buyers, it does intend to make the show available to industry monitoring services, such as Media Information Services, that view individual episodes and write reports specifically with advertisers in mind. MIS is owned by a number of big ad agencies, including Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, WPP Group's Young & Rubicam and Interpublic Group's McCann Erickson.
'Riding the curiosity'
The CW attracted scrutiny last week when it said screeners of the program would not be issued in advance of the show's Sept. 2 premiere. Networks typically indulge in that sort of maneuvering when the program isn't up to snuff, although the CW maintained in a statement that it was merely "riding the curiosity and anticipation into premiere night, and letting all our constituents see it at the same time."
The move even attracted the notice of the Parents Television Council. The advocacy group has been put off by CW drama "Gossip Girl," which it once called "mind-blowingly inappropriate" because of the program's depictions of teens using drugs, not to mention taking part in sexual escapades. The CW has used the PTC's remarks in a marketing campaign for "Gossip Girl," while the PTC has said it has contacted advertisers to warn them and ask them not to support "90210" without a prescreening.
Mr. McGuire, the CW spokesman, said the network would still not send out copies of the initial episode to media critics or others before Sept. 2.