TCA: CW extends 'Model,' pencils in 'Geek'

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The CW has inked a deal with Tyra Banks to keep "America's Next Top Model" on the air through the 2009-10 season, with the show heading back to New York after the upcoming Los Angeles-based cycle.

In addition, the CW will kick off its fall schedule Sept. 18 with the two-hour premiere of "Beauty and the Geek," which will have a twist in the upcoming installment in that the male "geeks" and female "beauties" will be joined by a handsome male and a "geeky" female.

Meanwhile, Lauren Cohan ("Casanova") will join Katie Cassidy as one of two new female hunters in the network's returning series "Supernatural" (HR 7/12). Cohan makes her appearance Oct. 18 as Bela, a mercenary who realizes there is a lot of money to be made in the supernatural world.

Those were among the announcements made Friday by CW president of entertainment Dawn Ostroff during the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour at the Beverly Hilton.

During the CW's executive session, Ostroff was grilled about topics ranging from the edgy content of new drama "Gossip Girl" to the network's lack of Emmy nominations to what happened to the winner of "The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll."

Ostroff said the goal for next season is to have original programming on the air all year long. When questioned about that strategy, she was quick to point out that she didn't mean the CW wouldn't be airing repeats of certain series, only that the CW would be airing original episodes of at least one series throughout the entire year, including summer.

"It's always a challenge being able to get everything started again in the fall," Ostroff told reporters after the session.

As for "Dolls," which comes back for a second cycle at midseason, the series will now focus on the formation of a female singing group -- to be called Girlilicious -- as opposed to finding another member of the Pussycat Dolls. Ostroff drew big laughs from the critics when she said Asia Nitollano, the winner of Cycle 1, had "decided to do a solo career," but Ostroff insisted that it was Nitollano's choice as to whether she would join the Dolls or go solo.

Ostroff also was queried about the content in the new series "Gossip Girl," which shows privileged teen characters engaging in drug and alcohol use, and the effect it might have on viewers.

"We're talking about a group of kids who live in a heightened reality," Ostroff said. "In the series, there are consequences for the actions that a lot of characters take, and we will be very responsible."

Ostroff also lamented the fact that "Gilmore Girls" co-star Lauren Graham and "Everybody Hates Chris" didn't receive Emmy noms last week. Asked about the network's lack of Emmy recognition (the CW scored only one Emmy nom last week), Ostroff said: "The audience that we really try and attract, the Emmy nominations probably won't make a big difference in terms of our viewers, but -- what it is, is it's great to be honored by your peers and to have our community say, 'We think this is a worthwhile show,' " she said. "I think we have the shows. ... I can't explain it."

During the exec session, Ostroff also highlighted the recent casting of Laura Vandervoort (CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation") as Supergirl in "Smallville" (HR 7/12) and the fact that Chris Rock will be making his first appearance in "Everybody Hates Chris" -- as a school guidance counselor -- in the season premiere. She said it hasn't been determined whether Rock will appear in additional episodes of the show, which he co-created, exec produces and narrates.

As for the CW's fall premieres, "Geek" will debut at 8-10 p.m. Sept. 18, while Wednesday night reality show "America's Next Top Model" also will have a special two-hour premiere Sept. 19. "Top Model" was set in New York during its first three cycles before relocating to Los Angeles. Banks, the show's star/creator/executive producer, also is relocating her syndicated talk show to New York this season.

Other season premieres: "Friday Night SmackDown" (Sept. 21); "CW Now," "Online Nation" (Sept. 23); "Reaper" (Sept. 25); "Gossip Girl" (Sept. 26); "Smallville" (Sept. 27); "Everybody Loves Chris," "Aliens in America," "Girlfriends," "The Game" (Oct. 1); "Supernatural" (Oct. 4); and "Life Is Wild" (Oct. 7).

The new comedy "Eight Days a Week," the returning drama "One Tree Hill" (which Ostroff noted has been given a full-season order) and the new reality series "Farmer Wants a Wife" and "Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants" are being held for midseason.

Ostroff added that every CW series will incorporate an environmental issue into a story line this season as part of the network's "Free 2 Be Green" environmental campaign, a partnership with the National Resources Defense Council and StopGlobalWarming.org.
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