May 11, 2012 2:25pm PT by Lesley Goldberg , Lacey Rose
CW Renews 'Gossip Girl,' 'Nikita,' 'Hart of Dixie'; Cancels 'Ringer,' 'Secret Circle'
The CW has renewed Gossip Girl and Nikita as well as freshman drama Hart of Dixie and ended the run of buzzy freshman dramas Ringer and The Secret Circle.
In a bid to fill its schedule with more original fare, the network's new president Mark Pedowitz is going on something of a pick-up/renewal spree. Earlier on Friday, The CW ordered to series five new offerings, including Arrow and The Carrie Diaries.
Gossip Girl's sixth-season pickup doesn't come as a surprise as there had been conversations about bringing back the Blake Lively-Leighton Meester hourlong for a final round because the actors' contracts expire next year. In January, executive producer Stephanie Savage told reporters that the Gossip Girl writers were leaving the story open at the end of season five. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter later that month, she suggested that next season felt like "an organic ending point." Savage will remain showrunner, while Sara Goodman has been promoted to executive producer.
Nikita will be back for a third go-round. In its second season, the Maggie Q-Shane West action drama moved from its plum post-The Vampire Diaries time slot to 8 p.m. Fridays, where it faced stiff competition from the final season of NBC's outgoing spy dramedy Chuck. Thus far this season, it's averaging an 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demo.
The second-season pickup of Dixie, created by Leila Gerstein, brings Josh Schwartz and Savage's count to an impressive four series on the air next season. (With the pickup of NBC pilot The New Normal, Ryan Murphy can claim the same.) The Monday night drama stars Rachel Bilson as a fish-out-of-water New York doctor practicing down South. Dixie follows the network's move into shows with more procedural elements than heavily serialized dramas like Gossip Girl.
Meanwhile, the network has canceled freshman dramas Ringer and The Secret Circle.
Ringer, the most buzzworthy of all the pilots coming into the fall season as it marked former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar's return to series TV, failed to live up to its hype. It opened to a modest 2.8 million viewers and a 1.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, a time-period success for The CW at the time. However, the freshman drama couldn't hold its footing, despite airing in multiple windows following the early demise of reality effort H8R, ending its season with a 0.5 in the demo and 1.2 million viewers. Not helping the serialized drama's case is Gellar's pregnancy.
Secret Circle, starring Life Unexpected's Britt Robertson, took over Nikita's post-Vampire Diaries slot, giving the network a block of programming from Kevin Williamson. The freshman drama, exec produced by Andrew Miller, earned a full-season order in October, when it was the network's best-performing new drama. After averaging 2.4 million viewers and a 1.0 in its first three weeks, Circle dimmed considerably. With both Circle and fellow freshman Hart of Dixie both drawing similar viewership, sources said the former's serialized nature -- making it harder for new viewers to come into the show -- worked against it. The series finale aired May 10.
Nikita, Dixie and Gossip join The Vampire Diaries, 90210 and Supernatural as having earned renewals at the youth-skewing network.
Philiana Ng contributed to this report.