Focused CW talks up 'TV to talk about'

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The CW made a pitch to advertisers Thursday that offered the network's most strictly targeted slate to date and portrayed its 3-year-old brand as a trend-setting success.

Rolling out a 10-hour fall schedule that includes eight scripted dramas and no comedies, CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff told ad buyers at New York's Madison Square Garden that the network will have as many scripted hours as NBC.

With the supernatural comedy "Reaper" and pot luck Sunday nights exiting the schedule and more female-focused dramas coming aboard, Ostroff emphasized the CW's lineup will be more focused on its adults 18-34 target than ever before.

"In just three years, the CW has become TV to talk about, with culturally current, quality programming," she said. "These are shows with a consistent quality and tone" and represent "the most cohesive lineup we've ever had."

"TV to talk about" is the theme of a new branding campaign at the network. With ratings down compared with last year, the CW emphasized the popularity of such shows as "Gossip Girl" and "90210" in mainstream media coverage and through social online networks like Twitter.

"The buzz the CW generates transcends television," Ostroff said. "It has become part of the fabric of pop culture."

Matching predictions, the CW's fall lineup includes a stable Monday night with "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill."

Tuesdays have "90210" and the network's revival of "Melrose Place," whose original incarnation on Fox was a spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210."

Wednesday has the network's top-rated "America's Next Top Model" and producer Ashton Kutcher's model-themed drama "Beautiful Life."

Thursdays finds the network continuing to have a paranormal pairing, with "Twilight"-hopeful drama "Vampire Diaries" and "Supernatural."

In its presumed final season, "Smallville" will move to 8 p.m. Fridays, with an encore of "Top Model" at 9 p.m.

For midseason, the CW has drama "Parental Discretion Advised" from writer-producer Liz Tigelaar.

The schedule also omits comedies, with the CW having canceled "The Game" and "Everybody Hates Chris." Freshman soap "Privileged," which for a while looked as if it were getting a second season, also is canceled.

"They're looking more and more like a more multicultural WB," said Shari Anne Brill, vp and director of programming at Carat. "I liked 'Vampire Diaries' since it's based on a book with a strong following. 'Beautiful Life' synchs up well with 'Top Model.' I think they're on their way."
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