Thursday, May 17, 2007

Upfront Watch: CW, take two

They finally issued the press release, which you can read here. When I'm done with the Fox call and my early print deadline, I'll try to come back with some thoughts.

UPDATE: As I mentioned in the "Veronica" post below, Rob Thomas said all his writers are accepting job offers from other shows. It's over. Meanwhile, full CW schedule and a few thoughts after the jump...

8:30-9:00 PM ALIENS IN AMERICA (New Series)
9:30-10:00 PM THE GAME

9:00-10:00 PM REAPER (New Series)

9:00-10:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL (New Series)



7:00-7:30 PM CW NOW (New Series)
7:30-8:00 PM ONLINE NATION (New Series)
8:00-9:00 PM LIFE IS WILD (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL (Encore Presentation)

So, a few thoughts:
  • I can't let myself get too angry about the death of "Veronica." Dawn gave it three seasons when it arguably only deserved one. They put it after UPN's highest-rated show. Then they put it on after the most-compatible series on either UPN or the WB. People didn't want to watch.
  • Kevin Smith directs the "Reaper" pilot, and while I love the guy's work, he's not someone I'd hire in a director-only capacity. Writer-only, sure. But not the other way. Also, since "Reaper" stars Brett Harrison, "The Loop" is dead after its upcoming 10-episode (or less, depending on ratings) run on Fox.
  • I'll give "Gossip Girl" a look out of Josh Schwartz loyalty, but unless one of the pilots unexpectedly wows me, I don't know that I'll be watch much of the network next season. I'm technically still in their demo, but just barely.

What does everybody else think?


Adam said...

"In a strategy designed to give producers time to make a significant creative change, the hit drama ONE TREE HILL will be held until midseason. When it returns, the story will have advanced four years and the characters will have already graduated from college. Online digital diaries will premiere in the fall, allowing fans to learn what happened during the college years, and will lead into the midseason series return."

Well, that's different.

Also, looks like Tyra's sticking around for more ANTM. Wasn't there a story at some point over the past few months that she might leave the show?

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, after the last three episodes of VM were essentially after school specials, I'm not sure it deserved to live anew.

Anonymous said...

I really tried to give Veronica Mars a chance over the years, but, frankly, I found it unwatchable. I'm not sure what show everyone else was watching, but the one I saw had ridiculous and obvious "twists" with plot holes you could drive a truck through, terrible production values, and, with the exception of only a few, terrible acting. There's a reason the show was the lowest rated on TV. It was lucky to last as long as it did.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad Veronica is gone but only a little sad, like when you remember a good friend you had in grade school but then she went and got all skanky in middle school and you never spoke again. I'll have the S1 and S2 DVDs to remind me of the show I want to remember.

I am glad they didn't do something crazy like cancel Supernatural. It will never grow beyond its core audience in that killer time slot, but at least I'll be able to continue watching my favorite CW show for one more year.

Anonymous said...

They get me for "Chris," "Geek," and "Smallville," which is plenty. Au revoir, Veronica (sniffle).

Anonymous said...

You are right on plot holes. I think the writers really only had vague concepts for the mini-mysteries and haphazardly wrapped them up in an episode's time without regard to how a real sheriff, real students, or real criminals would actually be thinking or doing. I think they rested on their laurels a bit with all of the cutesy irony and forgot that they needed to tell a real and compelling story. Even the second season has traces of the "we're making it all up as we go along" Jack Bauer style of narrative. After they solved the Lily Kane deal, they just didn't do that anymore.

Anonymous said...

I can't be too mad about "Veronica" either, Alan. I still love the show but not even the most devoted fan could claim the CW didn't gave it a chance. And I'm glad to hear the writers are already being hired to other shows.

I doubt I'll be watching much on the CW next year, unless Gossip Girl gets amazing reviews. I would've liked to see Supernatural in a different time slot, though. I watch it from time to time and I think it's good enough that it could find a bigger audience if it moved out of the Thursday war zone.

Anonymous said...

can't be too mad about "Veronica" either, Alan. I still love the show but not even the most devoted fan could claim the CW didn't gave it a chance.

I agree. As much as I still like the show, it's hard to blame CW for killing it. They gave it a lot of chances.

Isabel said...

I'm thankful VM got the chance at all. I'm super sad to see it go while other crappy shows get to stay. Too bad I'm not the one making the choices.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the CW gave it a chance at all. Removing the season arc mystery took away a big chunk of what made VM so rewarding week to week. It was a totally different show this season and not in a good way. It still had its moments but it wasn't nearly as good as S1 or S2. Also, it had one of the lowest budgets in primetime which is why you saw so little of Wallace, Mac et al. The lack of supporting cast was another reason this season was so lackluster.

I suppose you could say the CW gave it a chance by not canceling it outright after S2 but I think it deserved more than that especially for all the changes that were made for S3.

I would not be shocked if the CW ceases to exist in a few years at least as a major prime time network or it turns into a network that just shows reality shows since that is the path it seems to be moving down.

Oh well, it's over. At 10PM Tuesday I can banish Channel 11 to the ranks of the Spanish channels and the shopping channels and have it not show up in my guide. One less useless channel to scroll through is pretty nice.

stevie said...

I feel like the CW gave Veronica a slot, but told the show, "You can play but you have to change the rules entirely." And it didn't work. All the same, I'm a bit relieved. I wouldn't want to see Veronica even more watered down (it's been rough going since that first arc ended).

I am solidly in the CW's demographic, and there's nothing that appeals to me. I will try an episode of Gossip Girl because of Josh Schwartz, but the novel I read from that series was so dumb that I think I lost brain cells from reading it.

Anonymous said...

>I don't think the CW gave it a chance at all.

Are you kidding? The networks could not possibly have done more to promote Veronica Mars. They aired same week reruns on the network, same week reruns on MTV, ran episodes on CBS, gave it their highest rated shows as a lead-in, put billboards everywhere, and even did a friggin' mall tour. But the truth is, no matter what they did, people just weren't interested. And I swear, if I hear one more person complain that Gilmore Girls is not a compatible lead-in I will scream. For the first two years everyone claimed the show was failing because it didn't have a compatible lead-in (even though Top Model attracts tons of young women viewers and was UPN's highest rated show.) When The CW merger was announced, one of the big talking points about renewing VM was that it would FINALLY have a compatible lead-in if paired with Gilmore Girls. And then when the show still failed, people said, "well, the Gilmore Girls audience is really too different from the VM audience." Give me a freaking break. VM was the lowest rated show EVER to get renewed for another season. And they renewed it twice! The show's quality and vocal fan base kept it on the air for 3 years--3 years in which the network probably lost money on it. While you may be disappointed, I think at this point it's ridiculous to put any blame on the network.

Anonymous said...

I doubt either UPN or CW lost money on VM. It's budget was so low. What I mean when I say that CW "didn't give VM a chance" is that they changed it too much and limited it too much. I never watched GG but I never thought the target audience for VM was young girls. Although I think they tried to appeal to that demo more with the love triangles and other nonsense being a bigger focus this season. Nor is VM's target audience people who hang out in Malls. VM is an intelligent show that should have been marketed at twenty somethings who are intelligent.

VM got jerked around on UPN (here in NY at least) in S2 and all the changes in S3 hurt it terribly.

Anonymous said...

Veronica Mars did not have a low budget, at least by CW (and definitely UPN) standards. You don't get a show that looks that good (filmography and the like), with as good actors (Kirsten and Enrico wouldn't have been cheap, especially her in the later seasons) without spending a fair chunk of change. The show had abysmal ratings, and not matter what we like to say, it had only one good season, and potential to deliver in the latter two (see: Studio 60 post-pilot).

VM is a figurehead for network support, not the victim.

Anonymous said...

According to our fine host here:

"Rob has to work with the lowest budget for any drama on a broadcast network (and probably lower than some basic cable shows)."

Anonymous said...

It's true that Thomas did a lot of compromises and they hurt the show quality this year, but that has little to do with the renew (that said I actually think the schedule hurt it, they should probably runned it in two big blocks and make the hiatus smaller). What kill Veronica this year it's what had keep it for getting any traction in both previous seasons: the show (with very few exceptions) was never good at the mistery of the week, so it was always hard to get first time viewers interested.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Fienberg's take:

"I have to say that as a "Veronica Mars" fan, I feel some regret about the show's absence on The CW's fall schedule (hope springs eternal for midseason, but I *sure* wouldn't hold my breath). But the outrage on the part of the show's fans is wasted. We're talking about the second lowest-rated original program on all of network TV this season, ahead of only "Runaway." We're talking about a show that had one of The CW's finest possible lead-ins for an entire season and got only the smallest possible ratings bump. After three seasons on the air, "Veronica Mars" wasn't suddenly and magically going to find a huge audience and The CW really couldn't renew a show with those kinds of numbers. It's a business and the show was already floated for three seasons. So cherish the memories, enjoy the DVDs and recognize that The CW didn't do anything wrong and that the past two seasons of renewals were gifts to fans already."

Anonymous said...

The bottomline is that most TV fans are idiots watching crap like "Idol" and other Reality shows or endless, dull procedurals and skipping creative things like "Veronica".

That being said, it always had terrible ratings and lasted 3 years, only 1 of which was TRULY magnificent (season 1). Season 2 was wildly inconsistent and though season 3 is better, nothing matched year #1.

I will definitely miss Kristen Bell & the gang but I understand the decision.

I don't understand ever why people ignore greatness (Veronica, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar) and watch dreck like Idol.

Also...thrilled to see my 2 Thursday shows in tact.

Anonymous said...

You know what, I'm really tired of people claiming the audience is stupid because they didn't watch a certain show. I tried Veronica several times and just thought it was bad. I loved Arrested Development, but know several people who couldn't stand it. People have different tastes and just because they don't like the same things as you doesn't make them less intelligent.

In general, though, the Veronica audience has consistently been one of the whiniest, most immature, and annoying audiences I've ever seen for a tv show. I'm almost glad it's canceled just so I don't have to hear their ranting anymore.

Anonymous said...

Well with VM cancelled I will only be watching a half hour of CW a week (Everybody Hates Chris). I'm nowhere near their demo though (over 30 Black male).

As for the whole only intelligent people watch VM thing, I really think network tv watchers have an aversion to dramas with continuing story lines unless they are soapy like Grey's Anatomy. IMO Lost and Heroes are just weird exceptions to the rule.

theblankscreen said...

Just out of interest

Does any one know roughly what VM's budget was?

Anonymous said...

Are we at the "American is too stupid for VM" point now? My goodness. Everytime one of these quirky shows with irony gets cancelled, everyone is so RESENTFUL.

Anonymous said...

Although I'm sad for Veronica Mars to go, it's a relief it went out with (some) spirit intact and didn't feel it had to water down further. But I agree wholeheartedly that the network gave it all chances to survive.

Also, with Gilmore and VM gone, I no longer have to remember which of my cable channels is the CW.

Vivek Vaidya said...

To me VM really was a single season show. The big character arc was only built around a single season and even getting the second season to work required some heavy lifting. By season 3 the whole thing was just played out and by the last few episodes I was just ready to see the thing die. (I think the alternative would have been something like the last few seasons of the X-Files, just a mawkish parody of what had come before).

Rizzle said...

I've posted this elsewhere, but I think that the reason VM could not be sustained has nothing to do with its continuing story arcs. IMO, quite simply, it was the CONTENT of S1 that made it tough to follow. Veronica's personal problems were so compelling and serious (murder, rape, conspiracy, ostracization, etc.) that no mystery-arc--whether long or short--could maintain the intensity. Same deal with Carnivale, if you've seen that HBO mini-masterpiece (really hard to follow up on the apocalypse).