CBS Puts Show on CW, Makes Sister Net Interesting

Can prodigal daughter Sarah Michelle Gellar make you watch the CW in the fall?

I have been staring at the computer trying to think up something nice about the CW, a network that probably all-too-conveniently ends up the butt of many jokes. I do like Nikita. A lot. But given the combination of Maggie Q, guns and kicks to the head, that seems a little easy.

Supernatural is, as many of its most strident fans have pointed out, better than average and deserving of more respect, such as it is. But that wasn't a series that could hold me, and a few return trips confirmed that. Gossip Girl was interesting for about five minutes, but I don't really relate that well to super-snotty rich white kids, so I found myself wanting to slap them rather than watch them. And I roared with laughter at the Vampire Diaries pilot -- a masterclass candidate on bad writing. I came back to it later, and it was better but still too hokey and ridiculous to even make the Popcorn Series list. Way back when -- at least it feels like long ago -- I really enjoyed Veronica Mars and Reaper, plus the comedies Everybody Hates Chris and Aliens in America.

GALLERY: CW's New Season TV Shows: 'Hart of Dixie,' 'Ringer' and More

But the CW doesn't make comedies anymore. At least not intentional ones.

Good shows are good shows, no matter the target demo. So even though the CW is mainly targeting young women, it should still be able to produce shows that an open-minded, curious person could endure. So maybe that will happen next season?

At least the "network" is getting some early buzz on Ringer, a pilot turned down by big-sister network CBS, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, who at least has ancestral roots, pre-WB-UPN merger. All told, six new series -- three dramas and three unscripted -- were announced Thursday. But it's difficult to put the CW into any kind of analytical mix when discussing whether shows will click with the masses or face battles against competing shows in various time slots.

Why?

Because the CW still feels more like a niche cable channel -- aimed at young women and people who have willingly lowered their standards when it comes to quality -- than a real network. Which is why picking up Ringer, which didn't make the cut at a real network, makes the CW a smidge more interesting in the fall.

Otherwise, in a serious discussion, what's there to talk about? Josh Schwartz, whose Gossip Girl has helped keep the lights on at the network, gets another series there, and the hospital drama Hart of Dixie will follow Gossip Girl on Monday nights. Kevin Williamson, whose Vampire Diaries has tapped into the hot young vamp trend (which is, alarmingly, still breathing), gets another drama in The Secret Circle, this one about witches. It will follow Diaries on Thursday, making Williamson and Schwartz owners of two full nights of the CW's mere five nights of programming.

Gentlemen, do not carpool together. An accident will shutter this country's fifth network.

The three reality series include, for the fall, H8R, which pits such unlikable "celebrities" as Snooki and Kim Kardashian versus fans who despise them. The goal is to win them over. That woeful-sounding hour airs Wednesday, leading into America's Next Top Model, the high-performing reality-competition series. Later, provided the funding holds out, the CW will launch The Frame and Re-Modeled, two other reality shows I no longer have the will to describe.

Nikita moves to 8 p.m. Fridays. I'm setting the DVR. 

And that's pretty much it.  Intriguing? Well, sure, if you already like the shows on the network and the core dramatic philosophies of the two main content providers (I'm siding with Schwartz on this one). But it's up to Buffy to help make the CW relevant to a wider audience. That might prove more difficult than saving the world from tumbling into the Hellmouth.

Email: Tim Goodman

Twitter: @BastardMachine

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