CW playing to its strengths

Network's fall lineup puts focus more squarely on women 18-34

Pop band Maroon 5 said it best in its live performance of "Goodnight Goodnight" at the CW's upfront presentation Tuesday in New York.

"Something's gotta change/ It must be rearranged," singer Adam Levine crooned, echoing the CW's desperate need for a turnaround following a ratings slump this season.

To get back on track, the network plans to sharpen its focus on its target demographics, CW Entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said at the network's party/presentation at the large tent by the Lincoln Center.

The CW also plans to get a jump on the competition with its earliest fall launch ever: Sept. 1.

Ostroff — and her two 3-D holograms — introduced the CW's new "omgtv" fall branding campaign designed for its tech-savvy audience. Maroon 5 will be part of the campaign.

"We are playing to our strengths and programming to women 18-34," Ostroff said. "For the first time ever, we've got flow through the week."

As expected, the centerpiece of the CW's presentation was "90210," the upcoming contemporary spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210."

A crowd-pleaser was the trailer for the show, which featured interviews with some of the principal cast members, including Lori Laughlin and Jessica Walter.

"We're confident that the new '90210' will be the most buzzed-about series of any this fall," Ostroff said.

In an interview before the presentation, Ostroff said the plan is for original "90210" characters to be popping in for a visit on the spinoff.

"We've been speaking to most (original cast members), and they're interested in one way or another," she said.

The CW is going for an all-Tyra Banks/Ken Mok-produced night on Wednesdays with new fashion-themed reality show "Stylista" joining veteran "America's Next Top Model."

"This is most compatible show you'd ever want to follow 'Top Model,' " Ostroff said.

The only blank on the fall schedule was on Sunday where the CW has yet to announce the shows that will be produced by MRC, which recently closed a deal to program the night.

Buyers generally were pleased by the CW's presentation.

Shari Anne Brill, vp programming at Carat, likes the sharpened focus and appeal to women 18-34.

"They're going back to what the WB was," she said. "I want to see some film (pilots), but these are shows that their audience wants to watch."

The CW ordered only three pilot presentations this past development season, but it plans to do more after the upfronts for midseason consideration.

Already set for midseason is freshman "Reaper." It won't necessarily air on Thursdays, Ostroff said. And the perception that the upcoming season will be the last for "Smallville" — not very accurate.

"You would have said several times during its run that the show is just about dead," Ostroff said. "So I would never count it out." (partialdiff)
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