Live from the TCA Press Tour: CW Could Start Next Season in July
Live from the TCA Press Tour: CW Could Start Next Season in July
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The TCA panel with CW president Dawn Ostroff was a bit like a firing squad. Between the loss of WWE Friday Night Smackdown and two of its urban comedies and the outsourcing of Sunday nights to Media Rights Capital, Ostroff had a lot to answer for.

In addition, Ostroff spoke about many of the dramatic upcoming changes for the network, including a possible very early start for next season, the strength of online content over traditional ratings for Gossip Girl, and she finally previewed the new horror reality series 13.

The one thing Ostroff repeatedly mentioned was Gossip Girl, a clear indication that it is already the poster child series for the network. The ratings aren't great, but that's because they don't take into account all the ways in which young viewers watch TV, specifically online. Ostroff was excited that this past week Gossip Girl was mentioned on the front page of the New York Times as a trendsetter for fashion.

As for the still low ratings, Ostroff believes there needs to be an overhaul in the way ratings are tabulated to include things like iTunes. “Every viewer should be counted and no viewer should be left behind,” she said, sound a bit like Al Gore in 2000.

The CW is also considering a drastic change for the 2009-2010 TV season by possibly moving the premiere dates up to early August or even late July. The move would help bring the shows out of the way of other networks and take advantage of the recent success of cable networks debuting shows in the summer.

TCA members were treated to a first look at 13, a horror reality series created by Sam Raimi (director of the Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies). Taking place in the Louisiana bayou, 13 contestants are dropped off in the middle of the woods and put through hell for the chance to win $66,666. Ostroff described it as The Blair Witch Project as a reality series. Every episode will end with one contestant being “killed off,” though critics were morbidly disappointed to discover this was only a euphemism.

The show has no fixed premiere date for the Fall, though there are several openings. With Stylista being pushed back to premiere October 29, Wednesdays at 9pm after America's Next Top Model are open, as are Fridays at 9pm (with ANTM reruns scheduled). The other possibility is Sundays at 7pm, with the MRC shows In Harm's Way and Surviving Suburbia being pushed back until November 2.

To her credit, Ostroff stayed positive and tried her best to deflect criticism and concern, explaining the MRC deal as “very complicated.” She also maintained that the shows for that night will flow well with the rest of the network, though Ostroff brushed off concerns that none of the MRC series had panel sessions at the press tour. She also claimed she stands by comedies like Everybody Hates Chris and The Game, which was met with some light chuckling since they've been moved to Friday nights.

Check back with BuddyTV over the next week for more updates and scoops live from the TCA press tour.

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Preview of the CW's Sunday Night Lineup

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of the CW)