Thursday, May 11, 2017

2017 Upfront Questions: The CW

Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, examining the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront.

On each night, you can see the network's average 2016-17 ratings with its most frequent occupant in three different sub-sections of the year: "fall" (premiere week through December 31), "winter" (January 1 to the beginning of Daylight Saving Time) and "spring" (the start of DST through Thursday, May 4). You can also switch from the A18-49 ratings to the True ratings, which should make the comparisons across nights and across the season a bit more fair.

Last week's Renewology was the SHOW-centric portion, drilling more into the merits of individual shows: CW Renewology

More Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


fallSupergirlJane the Virgin0.62
winterSupergirlJane the Virgin0.54
springSupergirlJane the Virgin0.41

Question: What gets the Supergirl lead-in?

After three years on Monday, it appears to be time for Jane the Virgin to head elsewhere. What replaces it kinda depends on what the network's second-best newbie option is; if it's heavily male-skewing, it could go to Wednesday while Legends of Tomorrow stops off here.


fallThe FlashNo Tomorrow0.73
winterThe FlashLegends of Tomorrow0.82
springThe FlashiZombie0.64

Question: What gets the Flash lead-in?

Legends of Tomorrow briefly made for a potent combination in the winter, but overall it was a disappointing year for post-Flash occupants, starting with the nonsensical No Tomorrow pairing and ending with a rehash of the almost-as-nonsensical iZombie pairing. The whole superhero empire looks more mortal than it did a year ago, so it is important that the CDub get it right here for once.


winterArrowThe 1000.49
springArrowThe 1000.40

Question: What gets the Arrow lead-in?

The network has five potent pieces for four nights, which means there will be one lucky night that gets two of them. Unless there are two very male-skewing new choices, that night should probably be Wednesday. Arrow skews as male as The Flash but is much weaker and on a steeper decline. We're approaching the point where it could be asked whether local programming would be a better lead-in for a new show than Arrow. But again, the CDub can kick that issue down the road by plugging in Legends of Tomorrow (or, less likely, Supernatural) after Arrow.


fallLegends of TomorrowSupernatural0.68

Question: Is there a better lead-in for Riverdale than Supernatural?

Riverdale hasn't been that impressive, but it should still come back in the fall with a good timeslot to get a clearer sense of what kind of player it'll be long term. The network definitely has a couple female-skewing options in development that could pair with it, but Supernatural has been paired with practically everything and would be fine to continue here. Especially if Riverdale actually adds genre elements?!?!


fallThe Vampire DiariesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend0.29
winterThe Vampire DiariesCrazy Ex-Girlfriend0.28
springThe OriginalsReign0.27

Question: Is Surrender Friday returning?

The last couple years will probably go down as a bit of a golden era in CW history, with the vampire empire still potent enough while the superheroes were ascending. But the days of the CW having enough depth to try to get good first-run ratings on all five nights are likely over again, for now. Unless the network has an incredible new class and wants to put newbies on each of the first three nights (leaving Legends of Tomorrow or Supernatural as a Friday possibility), we are likely headed for a reunion of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, which were on Monday two years ago.

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