CW Fills Schedule With the Rich and Pretty

Aims to Attract Young Women With '90210' Remake, 'Filthy Rich'

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NEW YORK ( -- CW's goal for Year Two: target young women. The UPN/WB hybrid had a rough go of broadly reaching the youth demo last year, but the buzzworthy -- if not ratings -- success of "Gossip Girl" has the network chasing after the female segment in a bigger way this year. What's in store for next season? Lots and lots of pretty young things playing at being rich.
An updated '90210' will have an all-new cast of drama queens and original cast members like Jennie Garth returning to their roles on a recurring basis.
An updated '90210' will have an all-new cast of drama queens and original cast members like Jennie Garth returning to their roles on a recurring basis. Credit: Frank Ockenfels/The CW

Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff appeared first via hologram, then in person, at the network's cocktail party in Lincoln Center yesterday to plug the network's three Ds: demographics, desirable shows and destination. "It's OMG TV," Ms. Ostroff said, referencing the network's racy ad campaign for "Gossip Girl."

You go, 'Gossip Girl'
"Gossip" will continue to anchor the CW's Monday lineup, and was touted by Ms. Ostroff as "the first show we've developed that truly identifies the direction we're going toward." The show will continue to be paired with teen drama "One Tree Hill," which airs at 9 p.m.

"Gossip Girl" has notoriously struggled to achieve a high live-audience rating due to its success in online streams and iTunes downloads, prompting the network to pull the show offline for its final five episodes. But buyers are already calling the network's bluff on the gambit.

In an analysis of the CW's fall schedule, Lisa Quan, VP-director of audience analysis for Magna Global, wrote, "[The] CW is going to have to find a balance (or at least an agreed-upon accountability) for shows that attract a larger than average streaming audience. With its younger viewers that are more likely to go online for what they want to watch, taking down programs from a legit site is not going to stop the more savvy of them from taking it elsewhere."

'90210' gets facelift
Tuesdays will bring an updated "90210," a continuation of the Fox series with an all-new cast of drama queens and original cast members like Jennie Garth returning to their roles on a recurring basis. That show will be paired with the new "Surviving the Filthy Rich," a West Coast take on the familiar "Mean Girls" story of a smart out-of-town teenage girl who gets a job as a tutor for two pampered, Hilton-esque adolescents.

On Wednesdays, the CW will pair its existing "America's Next Top Model" franchise with "Stylista," a new reality series from the creators of "Top Model" and "Project Runway." The show is "Devil Wears Prada" meets "Runway," and pits aspiring fashionistas against each other for an editorial slot at Elle magazine. The clip reel tried to make Elle editor Anne Slowey into a Miranda Priestly-esque character of imperious stature, complete with a flippant handing of her coat to a wannabe assistant.

Thursdays marks the return of "Smallville" and "Supernatural," the network's biggest hits with young males. "Reaper," this season's well-reviewed but low-rated comedic sci-fi series, is expected to return on this night as a mid-season replacement.

On Fridays, the CW will fill the void left behind by canceling "Friday Night Smackdown" with its two returning sitcoms, "Everybody Hates Chris" and "The Game," and move its Sunday-night "Top Model" repeats to the 9 p.m. slot.

Sunday rights sold
As for Sundays, that night was recently sold to production company Media Rights Capital, after failed attempts to program the night with the entertainment news series "CW Now" and "Online Nation" last year. The CW unveiled a quick preview of the new lineup, which will feature shows with titles like "Fat City," "I.M. Valentine" and "Surviving Suburbia."

Of course, communicating the fall schedule to buyers proved tricky when, before jumping into its presentation, the CW opted to let the crowd drink apple martinis, dine on appetizers and take in a three-song set from Maroon 5 amid a brightly colored setting that made extensive use of the network's signature green. By the time Ms. Ostroff and her team of holograms appeared onstage, most buyers had to strain to hear her speech. As one buyer put it, "That was the longest teleprompter I've ever sat through."

But misguided scheduling aside, the CW's newly focused brand and programming gained favor with most buyers. "If any programming's gonna help them come back, it's that," said Drew Corry, head of Initiative's Amphibian group.

Although the CW's rating points are nowhere near its broadcast competitors, it stands a decent shot of pitting its CPMs against similarly youth-targeted cable networks, Mr. Corry added.

Magna Global's Ms. Quan also wrote of the CW's trio of new female-targeted series, "From what we've seen, the shows are perfectly fitted to attract a young female audience."
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