This fall, CW will debut "CW Now" as a half-hour magazine/news show Sundays at 7:30 p.m.--but won't have any scheduled ads. Instead, related young-skewing marketers' products, such as fashion, movie or video games, will be woven into the show's content in product-placement or product-integrated deals.
Bill Morningstar, executive vice president of advertising sales for CW, expects to have three or four deals for each show every week. He began talking with marketers about "CW Now" at the program-development deals in March.
Responding to concerns that the show may be viewed as a half-hour commercial, Morningstar said: "It has to be a show at its heart. If we do it like it's a long commercial, it's going to blow up."
He also rolled out other new TV advertising wrinkles. Morningstar will sell a series of five-second spots to one advertiser, called "quickies," that will be sprinkled throughout one particular night. He said this might be good for, say, the new "Scary Movie." It teases audiences with short commercials, building to a big payoff at the end of the evening.
Morningstar also said the network will continue to sell its "content wraps," which it began doing for this current season. Here, advertisers' products are woven into short two- and three-minute video clips. Last year, CW did about 20 of these deals.
With its first year of a full development season under its belt, CW has shaken up its lineup with six new shows in its upfront presentation. From the best-selling series of books for teenage girls, CW will start an "O.C"-type TV show, "Gossip Girl" that focuses on the ritzy Upper East Side crowd. It will run after "America's Next Top Model" on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
On Tuesday, the net offers "Reaper," a drama from film director/writer Kevin Smith about a teenager, Sam, who finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil. Sam now has to be a bounty hunter for the devil as payback. It airs at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays after "Beauty and The Geek."
Two of CW's venerable dramas--and that of UPN and WB, previously--"Gilmore Girls" and "Veronica Mars," will not return to the network.
Slightly breaking up its urban comedy block on Mondays, CW will start "Aliens in America," about a family that signs up to get an international exchange student as a friend for their son, who is harassed at high school. It runs at 8:30 p.m. after "Everybody Hates Chris." At 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., CW will continue with "Girlfriends" and "The Game"--shows that Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment for the CW, says grab the best ratings of all shows for African-American women 18-34.
In addition to "CW Now" on Sunday, CW will do "Online Nation" at 7 p.m., a show about unusual user-generated content. At 8 p.m., there's a new drama, "Life is Wild," about a father who decides to make a radical change for his wife and kids by moving them to South Africa.
CW will also return with another "Pussycat Dolls" reality show sometime next season. Ostroff is mum as to what the new competition will be. But she noted that the Dolls, who are now seven female members strong, at one time had 12 members.
The CW's 2007-2008 Prime-Time Schedule:
(New shows are in bold)
8:00-8:30 p.m. "Everybody Hates Chris"
8:30-9:00 p.m. "Aliens In America"
9:00-9:30 p.m. "Girlfriends"
9:30-10:00 p.m. "The Game"
8:00-9:00 p.m. "Beauty and the Geek"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Reaper"
8:00-9:00 p.m. "America's Next Top Model"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Gossip Girl"
8:00-9:00 p.m. "Smallville"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "Supernatural"
8:00-10:00 p.m. "Friday Night Smackdown"
7:00-7:30 p.m. "Online Nation"
7:30-8:00 p.m. "CW Now!"
8:00-8:30 p.m. "Life is Wild"
9:00-10:00 p.m. "America's Next Top Model"