Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 Upfront Answers, The CW

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2014 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CW's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Fall 2014 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM The Originals (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM JANE THE VIRGIN (New Series)

My Question: Does The Flash (or another newbie) have Originals/Arrow-style lead-off potential?

Yes, and admittedly I was uncertain about this after the CW aired a lengthy Arrow/Flash promo last night. (It felt like it was setting up the shows joining up on the same night.) But the CW (probably wisely) saw how difficult things were getting on Monday with Gotham and a few weeks of The Big Bang Theory and gave it that opportunity on an already "established" night. The Originals is arguably the network's weakest anchor, and it's undergoing a timeslot move for season two, while Jane the Virgin is almost inarguably the weaker of their two fall dramas. That means Monday could still end up being a bit shaky, but giving Flash the best possible opportunity clearly beats that out.


Fall 2014 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM THE FLASH (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM Supernatural

My Question: Across how many nights does the CW stretch its "Big Four"?

All four weeknights! But rather than yet another Supernatural move, it actually gets to stay put for once. Because it's been moved on an almost annual basis, it feels like the better show of the Tuesday dramas to move in theory, but counter-programming dictated otherwise. Hopefully those young CW viewers don't care about stupid things like timeslots anyway.


Fall 2014 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM Arrow
9:00-10:00 PM The 100

My Question: Will The 100 stay put?

Yes! This had to be an interesting decision between a "bird in the hand" and a third new drama, but the CW wants to run this in the fall and see if there's a long run in its future. Maybe iZombie or The Messengers would've done better, but I have to feel the network would've gone with one of them if they really thought there was a heavy likelihood.


Fall 2014 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM The Vampire Diaries
9:00-10:00 PM Reign

My Question: Will Reign stay put?

Yes! The CW has done quite a bit of schedule shuffling in recent years, so Reign staying put was far from a given. But with The Vampire Diaries' ratings struggles in recent weeks, it didn't look markedly stronger than the network's other anchors, and the network opted for stability. Based on the surprise Beauty and the Beast renewal, Reign staying in a good timeslot may have been another product of CBS Studios politics. It's the behavior of a network that had a good season... and they did have a good season.


Fall 2014 Schedule
8:00-8:30 PM Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30-9:00 PM WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (Encore Episode)
9:00-10:00 PM America's Next Top Model

My Question: How much Friday filler does the CW need out of the low-priority crowd?

We already know that both Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast snagged renewals, so it's somewhat surprising that neither of them made it onto the fall schedule. The CW is clearly putting all of its best feet forward to start off the season and worrying about burning through the other stuff later. Maybe we'll get a reprise of 2013-14's Monday Surrender Night (Hart at 8/7c, Beauty at 9/8c) at some point on Friday. We may find out more about the plans for Hart and Beauty when news comes out at the actual upfront.


The CW was a considerably deeper network coming into this upfront than they were last year, so reinventing the wheel was not necessary. And they definitely didn't. I'm a bit surprised that both The 100 and Reign returned to the same timeslots, but (as you can see from the questions I asked for Wednesday/Thursday) it's not a huge shocker. With the network picking up just four newbies, down from their usual five, it seemed possible that reduction could be felt on the fall schedule. Maybe The Originals and Jane the Virgin will end up being a questionable Monday duo, but that's probably a better decision than throwing The Flash into the tougher Monday fray.


Spot said...

Scheduling grade: A
Pedowitz addressed all scheduling issues well. Again. Picked shows, save for the Flash, doesn't seem to be good choices. Again.

1. Better pairings this year. Girly shows are paired together on Mon / Thu, with those A18-49 targeting paired on other two nights.

2. Monday is attacked, but with Gotham at 8 PM and Scorpion / Sleepy Hollow at 9 PM, not with Flash. Good decision.

3. Flash is in the best possible timeslot - avoiding both SHIELD and Gotham, with Supernatural not needed to being toned down for 8 PM airing. Great, though obvious solution.

4. They gave up on futile attempts to launch new drama behind The Vampire Diaries. Now that with The Originals they got one anchor more, it's very good idea to try different approach.

5. There's not a single mistake in this schedule. Yes, there were not much choices for Pedowitz to make. But for every single of those few, his chocec was correct.

1. Whose Line Is It Anyway in fall, and Hart of Dixie in midseason.
Kinda surprising, so far they aired those announced short final seasons during fall. Perhaps they're trying to keep open possibility to air those Hart of Dixie Netflix-wanted episodes in summer, and not on Friday (I disagree with Spot, there's zero chances for Monday with 2 midseason replacements waiting ready) ? They can afford it in case all new shows would do well.
However, I seriously doubt HoD finishes on the summer schedule. Simply because this looks like very weak newbie class. Except for Flash, I would be very surprised if CW renews any other new show.

2. The 100 not in midseason after all.
It was clear only one among iZombie / The Messengers / The 100 would get fall premiere, and chance for 22 episode. I thought the one will be iZombie, because Deadline was writing CW brass is high on it. Never mind. Anyway, the fact mediocre rated The 100 is their choice tells little about The 100. But tells lot about iZombie / The Messengers, and even more about pilots CW passed in favor of those two.

1. Beauty and the Beast renewed. WTF?

Spot said...

To be clear, I didn't mean they would return to Monday, I was just saying the same Monday pairing from this year (Hart / BatB) could return on Friday.

Spot said...

That one is possible. But only in case both:
Jane The Virgin doesn't get back 9 order
+ The 100 is intended to be short season (or drops so bad, they stop production at some time).

Spot said...

The Originals/Jane the Virgin pairing and Flash/Supernatural pairings both make sense and they've deftly scheduled Flash, their buzziest new show, to avoid both Gotham and Agents of SHIELD, even though it puts both The Originals and Jane in a tougher situation. I wonder whether they swapped their Monday and Tuesday schedules at the last moment.

I'm a little disappointed about no iZombie in fall, but I do like that there's only two fall shows. The CW should be able to give those shows a ton of promotion.

Spot said...

Best Move: Keeping The Flash away from the tough Monday fray. Added bonus, it stays away from SHIELD since that show moved up an hour to 9:00.

Worst Move: Putting newbie Jane the Virgin on Mondays. It's a female-skewing show that's going against ABC Family's strongest night, arguably just as damaging (if not moreso) than the male-leaning or older-skewing shows on the broadcast nets.

Other Thoughts: Clearly this schedule is all about getting The Flash off the ground: only two newbies and very minimal changes? We can all easily see where The CW's promotional money will be going this summer...

I am surprised that The 100 kept a spot in the Fall, but it is smart: much like Resurrection, limit the amount of time off-air and see what the show's capable of during the higher HUT months. Though I think The 100 has longer-term potential than Resurrection. And Mondays are at least being programmed in a half-assed way instead of a no-assed way with The Originals. While it's the weakest of the anchors, The CW is trying to swing for the fences a la Fox during its House/Glee/Idol/Idol season of 2010-2011. Considering how dire the network was a few seasons ago, that's pretty impressive.

Grade: B+

Spot said...

I'm agreeing with Silvio on a schedule for once.
They schedule is good, with 3 surprises that aren't that big of surprises. I thought Jane and Reign would switch lead outs and was not expecting Who's Line on the Fall schedule. CBS just loves having stronger Warner Bros. shows leading into their weeker CBS produced ones on both the CW and CBS. (Big Bang Theory/The Millers and POI/Elementary last year), so those pairings make sense. I'm psyched for my Flash/Agents of Shield night on Tuesdays.
Does anyone know if the 100 is still airing into June? It would seem like a bad idea to have an already renewed March premiere show continue to air episodes into the Summer (Looking at you, Better Off Ted)

Spot said...

I believe it is. Normally I'd be against that too, but The CW is actually making some effort in the summer with new stuff. Plus it ends its run before America's Got Talent and Extant show up, and there's no NBA playoff games on Wednesdays.

Spot said...

B+ schedule, the best among all five.

No need to move Reign or The 100, Flash will start in the same situation as Arrow and Originals, at 8 PM followed by Supernatural.

It's not a A-grade schedule because of monday, CW is still refusing a bit to attack it (and they did well in a loaded tuesday), Originals will nearly double HOD/SC, but Jane The Virgin seems DOA, but the pairing is wise.

Spot said...

SPN has had pretty good ratings this year. So imo it would have probably made more sense to place SPN on Mondays at 8, and put The Flash after that on Mondays at 9 (keeping it away from TBBT and Gotham).

The Originals has dropped pretty hard this season, so it has the potential to be crushed on Mondays. SPN fans are pretty loyal, and The Flash is pretty well-established. I think they would've been fine on Monday. However, I'm aware that CW wouldn't have risked placing The Flash on Monday in general.

Spot said...

Having thought about it, I see a potential pitfall to this schedule: what if The Flash is very successful out of the gate? Do they really want it leading into the 10th season of Supernatural? It's a "high-class problem", as Les Moonves is fond of saying, but it's still a real problem.

If The Flash looks like a game-changer, they're going to have to either move Supernatural or put it on hiatus and put something newer in that slot (iZombie?). Jane the Virgin being DOA might actually be helpful.

I wonder if The CW should have been more confident and scheduled a new show after The Flash. Then again, only two fall premieres and fewer shows ordered may suggest they aren't feeling so hot about their new shows.

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