Armchair Scheduling: The CW Fall 2011

It seems as though @BigTVFan has decided not to predict The CW’s fall schedule, which leaves that responsibility solely on my shoulders. Honestly, this was even easier to plot out than FOX, if only because The CW airs fewer programs than any of the other broadcast networks. Anyway, enjoy!

Monday Nights

8pm: 90210

9pm: Gossip Girl

Unless newly appointed president Mark Pedowitz wants to make wholesale changes to the network’s schedule, there would be no reason to alter this lineup. Still, Gossip Girl’s ratings have continued to dip this year, hitting a series low number this week, which indicates that wholesale changes may be necessary.

Tuesday Night

8pm: One Tree Hill

9pm: Heart of Dixie

There was a time when I lobbied for the return of One Tree Hill, but that time has come and gone. Last spring, The CW found themselves in an awkward position; they needed to renew One Tree Hill for ratings purposes, even though creatively it was floundering. To say Mark Schwahn has yet to right the ship creatively would be an understatement, but once again the ratings for One Tree Hill should be enough to garner it a pickup. Assuming Tree Hill remains in its current timeslot, The CW will probably slot in Rachel Bilson’s new pilot Heart of Dixie behind it. Set in the south and described as parts Everwood, Gilmore Girls and Northern Exposure, Heart of Dixie is (like Life Unexpected) off-brand for the network. Placing it behind the only other family-esque show they have is their best option to find it an audience.

Wednesday Night

8pm: America’s Next Top Model

9pm: Heavenly Ringer

American Idol sent America’s Next Top Model running for the 9pm slot this spring, but The CW will have no choice but to return it to 8pm come fall. The next cycle will be an All-Star edition, which will hopefully infuse some life into the aging franchise. After Top Model, I expect The CW will launch the new drama Heavenly. On paper, the concept for Heavenly has me weary. But, The CW brass is supposedly very high on the  story of dedicated young female attorney and a former angel-turned human tackling difficult cases together at the attorney’s legal aid clinic Ringer, which new entertainment chief Mark Pedowitz scooped up from CBS yesterday evening. Ringer marks Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to network television and comes from two Supernatural writers.

Thursday Night

8pm: The Vampire Diaries

9pm: The Secret Circle

A double dosage of Kevin Williamson dramas will almost certainly be the recipe for Thursdays on The CW come fall. The Vampire Diaries has dipped a bit in the ratings this spring against American Idol, but it remains the network’s highest rated series. The similarly themed The Secret Circle should slide comfortably in behind VD.

Friday Nights

8pm: Supernatural

9pm: Nikita

Next year will be The CW’s first without Smallville, so it stands to reason the network will slide Supernatural forward to 8pm slot. When the network first ordered the zombie uprising pilot Awakenings, I assumed they were grooming it to follow Supernatural on Friday evenings. But, at this point, it looks like the older male skewing Nikita will migrate to Fridays with a provincial 13 episode order. Honestly, this could be a blessing in disguise for the show. If it holds the majority of the audience its pulling on Thursdays nights, The CW will be forced to keep it around for a second full season.

Midseason

Awakenings/Hellcats/Nothing?

What The CW chooses to with their midseason lineup is anybody’s guess. Last year the network ordered one midseason program, the reality competition series Shedding for the Wedding. Two years ago, their only midseason program was Life Unexpected. Hellcats has been starved for ratings since The CW moved it to Tuesdays, but it remains creatively strong enough to justify a 13 episode order. If I were The CW, I’d slot it back behind Top Model, where it thrived in the fall. But, they’re more likely to hold it until midseason or cancel it. Awakenings was one of the most praised scripts ordered by any broadcast network this winter, and it has Lucy Griffiths (who has a CBS holding deal) set to star, which is why I find it hard to believe The CW won’t order it to series. Still, I thought for sure they’d issue a series order to The Wyoming Project last spring and they didn’t. 

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