July 23, 2014 1:38pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Comedies 'Backpackers,' 'Seed' Sent Packing at CW
Sound the sad trombones for The CW's scripted comedy offerings.
The network, which has been looking to return to the genre on the back of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, has pulled half-hour series Backpackers and Seed from its lineup effective immediately. Instead, The CW will air original episodes of America's Next Top Model, with its 21st cycle filling the gap in the Mondays at 9 p.m. slot starting Aug. 18, five days before it was scheduled to return. Top Model will return to its regular slot on Fridays when the network kicks off its fall lineup.
Canadian import Seed and Backpackers, a web-to-TV comedy strung together from its digital hub, CW Seed, represented the younger-skewing network's latest attempt to revive comedy.
Backpackers marked the first time an online series produced by the broadcast network's digital studio made the transition to TV. The CW had slowly been pushing into original scripted comedy fare after reviving Whose Line Is It Anyway? last year. The Aisha Tyler-hosted half-hour has already been renewed for a third season in 2015. CW president Mark Pedowitz had repeatedly said if that series was successful, he would use it as a building block for a comedy lineup.
Both Backpackers and Seed opened to a 0.2 among adults 18-49, with Backpackers falling to a 0.1 on Monday.
The news comes days after Pedowitz told reporters at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour that the network will continue to explore comedy as well as comedic reality (like Whose Line). "It wasn’t as successful this past Monday as I hoped, to be launching Backpackers and Seed behind Whose Line," he said. "That is the goal. We’re planning to use Whose Line as time goes on to see if we can launch other comedy, whether it be in the summer or in spring or alternative shows behind it. We believe our niche now for alternative is much more comedic reality. We feel that we’ll be far more successful with that than anything else."