'Wild' time at CW upfront

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NEW YORK -- Saying goodbye to veterans "Gilmore Girls" and "7th Heaven" and cult favorite "Veronica Mars," CW presented to Madison Avenue the fruits of its first full development season.

"Last season it was about establishing the network," said Dawn Ostroff, entertainment president at the CW. "This season it's about creating new hits that will better define the CW."

The network's hopefuls include four new scripted series -- dramas "Gossip Girl," "Reaper" and "Life Is Wild" and the comedy "Aliens In America." They join a fall schedule featuring more unscripted fare than CW and its predecessors UPN and the WB have ever lined up.

Girl group Pussycat Dolls, subject of one of CW's three returning reality series, opened the network's upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden.

The other two CW returning reality series, hits "America's Next Top Model" and "Beauty and the Geek," will be used as launching pads for two of the network's new dramas : "Reaper" and Josh Schwartz's Upper West Side-set "Gossip Girl," respectively.

At a news conference after the presentation, Ostroff confirmed that "Veronica Mars" has solved her last case in her current incarnation but that no final decision has been made on a proposed new version of the series by creator Rob Thomas in which the title character, played by Kristen Bell, is at the FBI Academy.

While her show was not present at CW's upfront presentation, Bell made an appearance of sorts as the narrator of the "Gossip Girl" clips shown to advertisers.

Another appearance, of a baby black leopard, drew a lot of "awwws" from the audience. The animal, which Ostroff cradled onstage, accompanied the cast of CW's new drama series "Life Is Wild," about a blended family that moves from New York City to a lodge in South Africa.

"Wild" will run Sundays at 8 p.m. after two new alternative shows at 7 p.m., "Online Nation" (showing off the best in user-generated content on the Web) and "CW Now," a news-entertainment show from the producers of "Extra."

No changes were made to Thursday or Friday night lineups, with "Smallville" and "Supernatural" remaining as well as WWE's "Friday Night Smackdown." Monday also will remain mostly the same, with the new sitcom "Aliens in America" following "Everybody Hates Chris."

Returning in midseason is "One Tree Hill," which this season left its characters graduating from high school. "One Tree Hill" will pick up next season four years into the future, after the characters have graduated college. Ostroff said the move was done in consultation with the show's producers, who recognized that the actors don't look like high schoolers anymore.

" 'One Tree Hill' is going to take a big turn, creatively, by skipping four years ahead," Ostroff said.

Also slated for midseason are "Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants" about mother-daughter teams vying in a beauty pageant, and "Farmer Wants a Wife," about a bunch of city women who vie for the heart of a farmer who wants to get married.

The complete schedule follows.

Monday
8:00 p.m. Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 p.m. ALIENS IN AMERICA
9:00 p.m. Girlfriends
9:30 p.m. The Game

Tuesday
8:00 p.m. Beauty and the Geek
9:00 p.m. REAPER

Wednesday
8:00 p.m. America's Next Top Model
9:00 p.m. GOSSIP GIRL

Thursday
8:00 p.m. Smallville
9:00 p.m. Supernatural

Friday
8:00 p.m. Friday Night Smackdown!

Sunday
7:00 p.m. ONLINE NATION
7:30 p.m. CW NOW
8:00 p.m. LIFE IS WILD
9:00 p.m. America's Next Top Model (repeats)
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