While many have dismissed the idea of combining struggling netlets UPN and the WB into a single network entity, others--myself included--can't help but watch with a sick fascination, trying to make heads or tails of which shows will be saved and which shows will end up on the scrap heap. CW President Dawn Ostroff certainly has her work cut out for her, but she also has the plum position of being able to pick and choose programs from among two (defunct) network schedules... and maybe order one or two pilots to series as well.
The New York Times today offered a behind-the-scenes feature on the goings-on at the CW and spoke with CBS head Les Moonves as well as CW czar Dawn Ostroff about which shows might make it onto their new network's fall lineup.
CW is not making anything official yet, but among the shows that Mr. Moonves and Ms. Ostroff said would almost surely be included on the new schedule are America's Next Top Model and Everybody Hates Chris from UPN and Gilmore Girls and Smallville from WB.How can Veronica Mars still only be categorized as a "probable contender" to be listed in the same sentence as One on One and All of Us? How can Ostroff and Moonves fail to see the brilliance of the writing, the understated grace of the cast, and just the sheer genius of creator Rob Thomas? Then again, here's a perfect example of CW's thought processes:
Other probable contenders include Veronica Mars, and several of the shows from the Monday night UPN comedy lineup of One on One, All of Us, Girlfriends, and Half and Half as well as Supernatural and Beauty and the Geek from WB.
So what about the name? At the meeting in March, the marketing department offered a list of about 15 potential names.
The selections were aimed at being as hip as possible: the Evo network; the Now network. There was a proposal to call it NXTV (as in "Next TV") or XYTV (for the audience generations being spoken to), or something even more avant-garde: the Angle network.
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Joking.
I've waited months to learn what the execs were thinking when they came up with the truly lousy CW, a truly inspired combination of CBS and WB. But I shudder to think of the cast-off names that were tossed out with yesterday's Barney Greengrass salads. The Evo network? The Now network? NXTV? The Angle? Here I thought that the CW was a lame moniker but I guess, compared to the alternatives, it's really not all that bad. It could be worse...
Mr. Moonves emphasized that as a new network, CW wants to add at least a few new shows, if only to signal that it has something of its own to offer.
"At CBS scheduling meetings, I always say: Don't fall in love with the new girl, don't get carried away," Mr. Moonves said. "With the CW, I might say: It's O.K. to fall in love with the new girl, instead of the old wife."
Um, sure. I think that makes my case better than anything I could have said. Maybe the New Girl Network would have been a more suitable name then.
(and in a note of irony, when I went to type in my word verificaiton code, the first two letter were...cw)
Yes, having a show with that kind of critical credibility would been a boon for The CW and it would instantly engender good faith with a certain subset of viewers. But even with a lead-in of fresh episodes of "America's Next Top Model," the best and most-watched show UPN has to offer, "Veronica Mars" has never found any kind of audience and you can't provide any statistical evidence that it's gaining traction or would be likely to gain traction on the new network.
If The CW picks the show up, they're making a clear qualitative statement, but they're also guaranteeing at least one dead programming hour per week, ratings-wise.
Do I hope they choose to bring it back? Heck yeah. Would I understand the decision-making process if they don't? Probably...