Addition, subtraction at CW, CBS
EmptyThe CW has added three scripted series for the fall: "Melrose Place," "Vampire Diaries" and "Beautiful Life."
Meanwhile, sister network CBS, which will present its schedule to advertisers today, has firmed up its roster of returning series, renewing "Cold Case," "Numbers," "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Rules of Engagement" and "Gary Unmarried" and canceling "Without a Trace," "The Unit" and "11th Hour."
Additionally, CBS is close to acquiring the newly canceled NBC drama "Medium," produced by CBS TV Studios. NBC has until the end of today to release the series.
The CW hinted at its plans for "Melrose" and "Diaries" last week when it gave both pilots permission to start making offers to writers and directors.
"Melrose" could well pair with "90210," repeating the launch pattern for the original "Melrose Place," which followed "Beverly Hills, 90210" on Fox in fall 1992.
With its name recognition and built-in buzz factor, CBS Studios' "Melrose" was an instant favorite before a page was written.
The WBTV-produced "Vampire Diaries," based on Alloy's series of books about a girl in a love triangle with two vampire brothers, is looking to tap into the pop-culture zeitgeist ignited by the success of the "Twilight" franchise.
CW brass is said to be so high on "Vampire" that they are even considering launching the series as a tentpole on Thursday, capitalizing on the built-in sci-fi audience on the night as it is preparing to bid farewell to "Smallville."
Meanwhile, with its setting — a co-ed residence of young models — CBS Studios/Katalyst's "Beautiful Life" would make a perfect scripted companion for "America's Next Top Model" (or its Friday repeat).
It doesn't hurt that both "Melrose" and "Life" have tabloid-friendly stars — Mischa Barton and Elle MacPherson ("Life") and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz ("Melrose") — to help hype the shows. And "Life" is exec produced by Twitter king Ashton Kutcher, who can talk up the series to his more than 1 million followers.
The CW has not announced midseason plans, with "Life Unexpected" remaining in contention. It will introduce its schedule to advertisers on Thursday.
At CBS, "Cold Case" fought a long, hard battle to come back, with budget cuts as the focal point of the renewal talks, as has been the case with all returning series this year.
CBS has been happy with "Christine" and "Gary," as they opened a comedy block for the network on Wednesdays. Next season, "Christine" might be paired with another comedy fronted by a sitcom veteran, the recently picked-up Jenna Elfman starrer "Accidentally on Purpose."
In preparation for the pickup of "Gary," CBS tapped Ira Ungerleider and Rob Des Hotel as new showrunners for the show.
And though "Rules" didn't do well in its trial runs on Wednesday and Monday the past week, it has been solid behind "Two and a Half Men."