'Wild' time at CW upfront
Net ends 3 series, adds 4 to skedSaying goodbye to veterans "Gilmore Girls" and "7th Heaven" and cult favorite "Veronica Mars," the CW on Thursday 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 — the 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 WB Network have ever lined up.
Girl group Pussycat Dolls, subject of one of the CW's three returning reality series, opened the network's upfront presentation at Madison Square Garden.
The other two returning CW 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 "Girl," respectively.
At a news conference after the presentation, Ostroff confirmed that "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 "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 "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. "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.