Brill’s Video Beat: The CW 2010-2011


Singer Katy Perry opened The CW’s upfront event and legions of buyers/advertisers dancing in the aisles with her performance of two of her hit songs: Hot/Cold and California Gurls.

Perry introduced Rob Tuck, head of advertising sales who spoke about how The CW’s viewers make no distinction between watch CW’s shows on-air versus on-line. The CW audience was dubbed “Generation D” (as in digital for the uninitiated).

Dawn Ostroff President of Entertainment said that “The CW is more than just TV. It is a 360° network.” The CW is the youngest-skewing of all the networks with a median age of 33. It also boasts the most concentrated audience of Adults 18-34 of any network. The network is an important opinion leader to its trendy viewership base regarding lifestyle and image. The CW is also the most successful of all the networks regarding is ability to harness the power of online and social media. Their shows boast a collective 10 million Facebook fans and are the most tweeted.  The CW is also very open to integrating advertisers’ brands into content.

According to Ostroff “After just four short years as a network, The CW will premiere our strongest schedule ever this fall, with a combination of hit shows and exciting new series giving us all-original programming five nights a week for the first time.”  “We’ve been growing this network one hit at a time and we’re poised for a great 2010-11 season. This year The Vampire Diaries was a smash out of the box for us, and another freshman show, Life Unexpected, also opened strong and began building an intense, loyal following.  As the network heads into year five, the networks laser-focused strategy of targeting young women is working for them.

This fall, the network will be launching two promising new scripted drama entries: First up is Nikita, an adaptation from the 90’s action-thriller “La Femme Nikita.”  Nikita stars international film star and Jackie Chan protégé Maggie Q (Mission Impossible and Die Hard). Q. stars in the title role as a spy and assassin for a top secret U.S. government agency. After her civilian fiancé is murdered, Nikita who rebels against the system that created her and will stop at nothing to bring their powerful operation to an end.  Shane West (“E.R.”) and Lyndsy Fonseca (“Kick Ass”) also star. The fast-paced action, combined with the martial arts focus will undoubtedly attract a more dual audience to the show.

Hellcats, the second new drama on the fall schedule, is a pumped-up drama about a young pre-law student (Aly Michalka, “Bandslam”) whose world is turned upside-down when she loses her scholarship and has to join the college’s competitive cheerleading squad.  This fun, energetic series is a behind-the-scenes look at the drama, politics and pressure surrounding the football program at a Southern university.  Ashley Tisdale (“High School Musical”) also stars as a young woman who is totally committed to the cheerleading squad to realize her dreams. Hellcats is executive-produced by Tom Welling, star of Smallville, which ends its ten-year run in May 2011.

Ostroff also announced several new reality shows that will be joining their schedule. Plain Jane, which launches during summer 2010, will feature a full-blown makeover for a young woman including a style transformation, new wardrobe and confidence-building assistance from the show’s host, British fashion expert, Louise Roe.  A different woman will be featured each week.

Also new is reality competition series Shedding for the Wedding. Shedding features overweight couples who compete against each other in a race to get in shape for their upcoming nuptials. The couple that sheds the most will win their dream wedding.

Schedule Overview
The CW will be adding two shows during fall 2010. All five nights will feature returning shows, in new time periods new shows, or both.

Monday nights will consist of the West Coast/ East Cost pairing of 90120 at 8 p.m. followed by Gossip Girl at 9 p.m.  90210 recently earned the distinction of being the most time-shifted show on television. It also boasts a Live-Plus-7-Day ratings contribution that more than doubles its Women 18-34 audience.  Gossip Girl continues to be one of the most gossiped-about shows on The CW’s schedule. 

One Tree Hill, opens up Tuesdays at 8 p.m. followed by season two of critically acclaimed Life Unexpected.  The drama is about a young girl who reunites with her birth parents after growing up in foster care. 

On Wednesday, America’s Next Top Model will be back for its 15th cycle and will continue to lead off the night at 8 p.m. The addition of a new judge, Vogue Magazine’s Contributing Fashion editor André Leon Talley, during the shows’ 14th cycle, gave the show new energy. ANTM was number one in its time period against women 18-34 and adults 18-34.  New Cheerleader drama Hellcats will air at 9 p.m.

The Vampire Diaries, (now in its sophomore season), will continue to open Thursday nights at 8 p.m. During its freshman year the show was an instant success and it quickly became the network’s top-ranked show.  The vampires drama will provide a compatible lead-in for the action/adventure thriller Nikita at 9 p.m.

On Friday nights, Smallville and Supernatural (8 and 9 p.m. respectively) will be paired together once again.  This will be the tenth and final season for the Superhero series.

As a final note, The CW will continue to remain committed as ever to the utilization of online, social media and new technologies to attract ‘Generation Digital,


8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL

8:00-9:00 PM ONE TREE HILL (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM LIFE UNEXPECTED (New Night)

9:00-10:00 PM HELLCATS (New Series)

9:00-10:00 PM NIKITA (New Series)

9:00-10:00 PM SUPERNATURAL (New Night)

— Shari Anne Brill, Industry Analyst and former SVP/Director of Programming and Strategic Audience Analysis for Carat. You can reach her at [email protected]; and follow her on Twitter @shariannebrill.