Making a dramatic scheduling shift, The CW will start its next TV season in January 2021, shifting from its -- and other TV networks' -- usual traditional fall-season start.
In the fourth quarter, the CW will fill its schedule with acquired “fresh original” scripted series and alternative programming, as well as the last seven episodes of its long-time drama “Supernatural.”
The fall September/October start of the TV season is typically the start of marketers' upfront advertising schedules -- due to new scripted TV programming launches.
In light of TV production delays for CW and the industry, Executive Vice President for National Advertising Sales for The CW Rob Tuck says the timing of the upfront advertising market -- deals to be made June/August for the new season -- may change.
“The timing may be different than in years past,” he says, speaking on a press call. “There will be some clients who will slow down the process... There will be other clients whose business weren’t really affected and will be able to move quicker.”
In contrast to other networks, Tuck says not much has changed when it comes to CW’s third-quarter “option” period, which just started. Option periods are where marketers can cancel some of upfront advertising inventory.
He says options are within “historical” trends. “We are a tick higher,” says Tuck. Typical third-quarter cancellations for TV networks are in a 2% to 5% range -- the percentage that marketers can trim deals made in the upfront market in the previous year.
Looking at whether CW’s on-air marketing efforts might be changing in the wake of COVID-19, Rick Haskins, president streaming/chief branding officer, says there will be more marketing references executions such as those on the order of its PSA-campaign #CWGrateful, where its network stars offer thanks to nurses, delivery people and others during the crisis.
The fall programming schedule includes alternative shows such as “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (Mondays); “Two Sentence Horror Stories” (Wednesdays) and “World’s Funniest Animals” (Fridays).
Starting in 2021, CW will add four new hour-long series to its prime-time lineup -- with two starting in January and two for midseason.
The positive for CW is that it will have much more original programs week-to-week, versus repeat programs typically seen throughout a typical TV season, says Mark Pedowitz, chairman/chief executive officer, The CW Network.
Starting in January, new series "Superman & Lois" will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., focusing on home life of Clark Kent and Lois Lane as working parents.
On Thursday at 8 p.m. is "Walker," an update of the long-running series "Walker, Texas Ranger," starring Jared Padalecki, of CW’s long-running "Supernatural" series.
Two other new series will go midseason: A new version of "Kung Fu" and "The Republic Of Sarah." "Sarah" is about a rebellious high school teacher who is looking to combat a state-backed mining company.
The CW’s January schedule
8:00-9:00 p.m. "All American"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Black Lightning"
8:00-9:00 p.m. "The Flash"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Superman & Lois" (New Series)
8:00-9:00 p.m. "Riverdale"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Nancy Drew"
8:00-9:00 p.m. "Walker" (New Series)
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Legacies"
8:00-9:00 p.m. Penn & Teller: Fool Us (New Night)
9:00-9:30 p.m. Whose Line Is It Anyway? (New Night)
9:30-10:00 p.m. Whose Line Is It Anyway? (New Night)
8:00-9:00 p.m. "Batwoman"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Charmed" (New Night)