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The CW is the latest network to throw its hat in the Thursday ring with a bold scheduling move on the most lucrative night on television.
The network, which will officially unveil its fall schedule Thursday, plans to slot hot new drama “Vampire Diaries” on 8 p.m. Thursdays, paired with “Supernatural.”
“Vampire Diaries” will replace departing veteran “Smallville,” whose ninth and final season will air at 8 p.m. on Fridays.
New drama “Melrose Place” will be paired with “90210,” repeating the launch pattern for the original “Melrose Place,” which followed “Beverly Hills, 90210” on Fox in fall 1992.
With its setting — a co-ed residence of young models — new drama “Beautiful Life” is considered a perfect scripted companion for “America’s Next Top Model” and will launch after the hit reality series on Wednesdays.
CW’s flagship Monday lineup of “Gossip Girl” and “One Tree Hill” will stay intact, and the network recently announced that it is giving Sunday night back to its affiliates.
“Smallville” had been in the Thursday 8 p.m. period for the past four seasons. Then on the WB, the Superman drama landed on Thursday in fall 2005, joined several months later by then-freshman “Supernatural.”
“Vampire Diaries,” based on Alloy’s teen vampire books, is envisioned as a tentpole series on Thursday, where the CW already has a built-in sci-fi audience with “Smallville” and “Supernatural.”
All major networks are taking swings on the all-important Thursday night.
Fox and CBS are moving promising freshmen “Fringe” and “The Mentalist” to the Thursday lineup at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.
ABC is positioning hot newcomer “Flash Forward” at 8 p.m., where the show based on a sci-fi novel may have some audience overlap with “Vampire Diaries.”
And, after several weeks of “SNL” specials to start off the season, NBC will get freshman comedy “Community” to lead off its comedy block at 8 p.m.
The CW has yet to announce its midseason plans, with “Parental Discretion Advised” (formerly “Light Years”) still in contention.
The CW’s 2009-10 schedule:
8 p.m. “Gossip Girl”
9 p.m. “One Tree Hill”
8 p.m. “90210”
9 p.m. “Melrose Place”
8 p.m. “America’s Next Top Model”
9 p.m. “Beautiful Life”
8 p.m. “Vampire Diaries”
9 p.m. “Supernatural”
8 p.m. “Smallville”
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