Last week, I did a series of pre-upfront posts called "Upfront Questions" in which I posed one question for each night of the schedule. My post-upfront coverage is called "Upfront Answers," in which I take a look at how they addressed my questions.
Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | The CW | General
For further reference: CW True Power Rankings | CW Upfront Questions
8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM Gossip Girl (New Time)
(THE CARRIE DIARIES premieres January, 2013)
My Question: How aggressive is the CW on the toughest night?
They basically did what I wanted, which was go with some of the low-rated returning soaps here. I think you can question the wisdom in putting what looks like their most W18-34-friendly new show on what is also typically cable rival ABC Family's most powerful night, but the fact that they're waiting on this one means they'll have a chance to premiere it in a very strategic part of the calendar... in other words, between Voice cycles.
8:00-9:00 PM Hart of Dixie (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM EMILY OWENS, M.D. (New Series)
My Question: How aggressive is the CW on the easiest night?
They didn't exactly go all out with two super-buzzy newbies, but they also didn't exactly punt either. They go with their youngest returnee and a new show that seemed like a really logical pairing. With relatively little competition on the night in general, I could see this being a sleeper success evening, but it won't be the game-changer it perhaps could've been.
8:00-9:00 PM ARROW (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural (New Night)
My Question: How does the CW react to the Top Model disaster?
I had a feeling the CDub would leave the show on Wednesday as some kind of nod to its long history as one of the network's very few successes. Instead, they clearly acknowledge that it is not working and move one of the few shows that is (Supernatural) back into the weeknight mix. I never brought that up as a possibility because I thought we were well past that point, and it may be a year or two too late to get a whole lot of ratings value out of it. But the pairing with Arrow probably just plain felt right. It also sends a clear message, after years and years of prematurely downgrading their male-skewing shows, that the lesser gender is welcome back on the network.
8:00-9:00 PM The Vampire Diaries
9:00-10:00 PM BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (New Series)
My Question: Where does the CDub now go with its only legitimate lead-in?
I said last week that Beauty and the Beast looked like the best TVD companion of their new shows, so I can't complain too much!
8:00-9:00 PM America's Next Top Model (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM Nikita (New Time)
My Question: How to fill out the tenth hour?
It went to a third season of Nikita, although that may end up doing better than the fast-decaying Top Model. People have long said that there's "no Friday curve" for the CW because they've typically put some of their strongest shows on the night. This could well be the year that their Friday starts looking as bad relative to the rest of the sked as everyone else's.
They didn't do exactly what I wanted, but they were pretty close. Perhaps they lucked out a bit in having so many totally natural fits between new and old, but these pairings generally look great. I think you can nitpick which of the Monday thru Wednesday pairings goes on which night, but I doubt any of their placements are significant errors. I also think they're pretty wise in concluding that Arrow probably has more potential than any of the returnees, so let's put it in the lead-off role. Thursday/Friday, at least for my money, are absolutely perfect. Ultimately, I guess I'm gonna continue my sure-to-be unwise tradition of praising the crappy networks and slamming the strong ones. Throw in the relatively late launch and I feel they did pretty close to the best they could in maximizing what's reportedly a smashing (by CW standards) development season. If the network can't show a pulse this year, it's pretty much over.