Last week's Power Rankings were the SHOW-centric portion, in which I drilled more into the merits of individual shows: CW True Power Rankings
Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW
8:00 - Hart of Dixie | Star-Crossed
9:00 - Beauty and the Beast | The Tomorrow People
Question: Does The Flash (or another newbie) have Originals/Arrow-style lead-off potential?
The CW should have enough pieces on the board this year to be able to make a real effort on Monday night, which is (as for Fox) some fertile ground due to the big networks being in comedy/reality. But I still think there's a chance the network could go ultra-conservative again on Monday, because Flash is not necessarily the slam dunk that The Originals was. If they believe Flash needs to go after its most compatible show, Arrow, they could mail it in with some combination of lower-tier sophomores (Reign/The 100) and/or lower-tier newbies, making absolutely sure that Tuesday and Wednesday are shored up. I'm not rooting for this to happen, but just throwing it out there.
Another note: "lead-off potential" doesn't necessarily mean actually leading off on Monday. The Big Bang Theory and Gotham might make for an even tougher pair to premiere against in October than what Originals had to deal with (Agents of SHIELD and NCIS). So the Monday newbie could go at 9/8c after Supernatural even if the network internally considers it on an Arrow/Originals level. If Bones or something returns to Monday, though, 8/7c is preferable. Worked well for those shows.
8:00 - The Originals
9:00 - Supernatural
Question: Across how many nights does the CW stretch its "Big Four"?
This was the CW's biggest scheduling question last year, and it seemed genuinely questionable, largely because The Originals hadn't even aired an episode yet. It's funny that Supernatural moving to a new night is considered so much more probable coming into this upfront, even though it's spreading the network even thinner than the 2013 move did. Guess it helps that it worked so well this year.
But to revisit my devil's advocate scenario: though the Monday schedule will largely be about how much the network loves The Flash, there are a couple other things beyond The Flash that might complicate this. The first, just a hypothetical when I first wrote this, is the surprisingly down reception to the Supernatural spin-off. It's now confirmed as the NCIS: Red of the 2014 upfront, and its demise is a surprise on that level. Another thing is The Originals' late-season struggles. I really hoped the 0.6 rating from a few weeks ago was a fluke, but it got back in that territory this week. This has been a really low-HUT week, so I'm not sure there's much stock being put in it, but it's still not good.
So can The Originals lead into a new drama next season? At the beginning of 2014, I'd have said, "Yes, absolutely." Now? Might be more like, "Yes, but preferably something pre-branded like the Supernatural spin-off." Now that the spin-off has fallen through completely? Hmm.
8:00 - Arrow
9:00 - The Tomorrow People | The 100
Question: Will The 100 stay put?
It's very early in this show's run, but The 100 at least looks like a potential long-term player, though not necessarily much more than that. It's possible to do better in the post-Arrow slot, but it's also highly possible to do worse. This decision is probably more of a referendum on the third new drama than anything, but it can also be seen as another test of the importance of running up episode counts for syndication in CW land. Will this known decent quantity get 13 in the fall with an option for 9-11 more, or will they keep it in "limited" mode (possibly helping it creatively)?
8:00 - The Vampire Diaries
9:00 - Reign
Question: Will Reign stay put?
If the terrible development scenario comes to pass, it might go to Monday. If they like development but are really worried about The Originals, I guess maybe it ends up on Tuesday, opening up the post-TVD slot again. But it's not like TVD has been doing well at this time of year either. So stability is better than "wasting" the slightly better lead-in on Reign, and it should stay put.
8:00 - The Carrie Diaries | Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00 - America's Next Top Model | Nikita | Hart of Dixie
Question: How much Friday filler does the CW need out of the low-priority crowd?
Well, this was a lot more interesting before the CDub made all its renewal decisions yesterday! I was wrong here, but I'm gonna post what I had written 24 hours ago anyway and add to it.
Presumably the network will want to power through Friday in about the same way as this season: with approximately a full season of unscripted/repeats in one hour and approximately a full season of scripted originals in the other. In 2013-14, the network aired 28 scripted original hours: 13 The Carrie Diaries + 6 Nikita + 9 Hart of Dixie.The pure studio/episode count-based reach did happen, which definitely provides some real insight into how this relationship between the studios works. But how will two low-priority renewals play out from a scheduling perspective? There are actually several possibilities:
Does that mean the network could order more than a full season out of the five bottom shows still not renewed or cancelled? Seems doubtful. They will surely factor in the probability that something (a newbie, or maybe even Reign or The 100) will get the same de-prioritization treatment Hart did this season (as well as The Tomorrow People in its move to Monday). Since they may have no obvious surrender night from Monday-Thursday, that scenario is all the more likely for Friday.
Hart of Dixie does not have a strong first-run ratings case, but it seems to be the leader based on its high episode count and eligibility for the CW's beloved "announced final season." I would expect this to be the only scripted series initially designated for Friday. But if its episode count is smaller than expected (low teens down to zero), that may open the door to other possibilities. It would be an interesting test of the network's preference among best A18-49 ratings (The Tomorrow People), best young female demos (The Carrie Diaries) and a pure studio/episode count-based reach (Beauty and the Beast), so I'd like to see what would happen.
- They're both really short orders like last season, thus fitting neatly into how I envisioned it;
- They're planning on airing a lot more than the 28 Friday scripted hours from this season;
- Some of these episodes are (like the remainder of BatB season two) specifically earmarked for summer as part of a year-round push;
- The network really doesn't want to waste money on a lot of additional episodes of young shows only to de-prioritize them, as happened with The Tomorrow People, so they'll be more tightly focused on what airs on Friday this season.