The CW is the network that will rise from the ashes of WB and UPN on Sept. 20. Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment for The CW, says it had a wealth of old and new shows competing for limited time on the network schedule.
WB's "Everwood" didn't make the cut because it skews too old, she says, and has trouble anchoring a night of prime-time programming. Long-time WB staple "7th Heaven" will be renewed--despite the fact that the show is losing $16 million a year.
Ostroff says CBS, a part owner in the CW, had a deciding vote. CBS' Paramount Television produces "7th Heaven," and has now made the show financially attractive. "We are not going to lose anything on '7th Heaven,'" says Ostroff. "This is one of the advantages of joint ventures. Everyone rolled up their sleeves from CBS and Warner Bros. to make it work." CBS and Warner Bros. are 50-50 owners in the CW.
The CW explained its first marketing campaign, all adorned in a color theme of green with 1960s-type graphics. "People see the green everywhere and say the green stands out. It's a happy color," says Ostroff. "We are going to be out with very strong marketing campaigns. Viewers who already love the shows are going to have a big part in bringing in new viewers to the network." The CW said it would allow viewers to make their own personalized TV promos for the network.
She reiterated management's decision to keep the name CW. "We were shocked to know that 48 million 18-34 viewers already knew what the CW was. It would cost us tens of millions of dollars to get that brand recognition."
The network launches Sept. 20 with a special two-hour "America's Next Top Model." It rolls out other season premieres over a two-week period, culminating with "Veronica Mars" on October 3. UPN will formerly end on Sept. 15; the WB comes to a close Sept. 17. In between, stations will run season finales of the top shows from both departing networks.
New casting moves include adding Haley Duff to the cast of "7th Heaven" and Whoopi Goldberg, in a limited story arc, to "Everybody Hates Chris." Ostroff says the network's move in scheduling "Everybody Hates Chris" and other comedies on Sunday is because there is little family viewing available that night, especially now that NBC will run "Sunday Night Football."
This fall, the CW will be offering advertisers "content wraps"--two-minute ad-sponsored programming dramas with a continuing story line that air periodically throughout a particular night. Bill Morningstar, executive vice president of advertising sales for The CW, says a number of deals have been made, but did not volunteer specifics.