CW shifts sked up to summer

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Starting next year, the CW plans to get a jump on competitors by moving the start of its programming season into the summer.

The network plans to premiere its 2009-10 lineup the first week of August, or possibly in late July. As a result, the CW will fast-track some of its development and shoot pilots in November.

"The idea is to just get out of the fray and be able to launch at a time when we can bring viewers in, when there's not as much competition," said CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff at the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "If you look at cable, they launch in summer, and it works for them."

Ostroff says she also would have launched the upcoming season in August if not for NBC airing the Summer Olympics. Instead, the CW will roll out most of its shows Sept. 1, which is still three weeks before the typical premiere week.

She added that advertisers like the idea of her network getting out of the way of its more popular broadcast competitors. Plus, given that the CW targets young women, the net believes it can attract fall fashion and back-to-school ads.

For the CW, summer has been an Achilles heel, with the network losing viewers without any original programming. Launching in August will give the network a head start but also could result in shows running out of episodes around April. Ostroff said the network will either air more repeats or fill the slots with different shows. (partialdiff)
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