By: Kevin Kelly, Special TCA Correspondent
President Dawn Ostroff kicked off Saturday’s Television Critics Press Tour CW executive panel by introducing us to an entirely new reality show called 13 – FEAR IS REAL [or as we at theTVaddict.com like to call it, the cancelled EVERWOOD, VERONICA MARS and JACK & BOBBY for this!] They’re pitching it as “THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT as a reality show.” Aye carumba. This was interesting when it was called SAW, or SAW 2, or SAW 3, or SAW 4. A mysterious computer-distorted voice comes on and lets us know that 13 contestants will be “Playing a game for me.” They’re “killed off,” one by one, and the final survivor wins. $66,666 dollars. Ostroff quipped, “We’ll do anything for attention here at The CW!” Funny, I really believe that.
Someone popped a hard hitting question wondering if Ostroff was worried about the economic downturn in the country having a negative affect on shows like 90210, PRIVILEGED, and GOSSIP GIRL, and she compared the current situation to the 1980s when shows like DYNASTY and DALLAS were doing well amidst a poor economy. I’m too young to remember if that was true or not, but they’d better hope that people retain a voracious appetite for the drunken antic of underaged rich kids.
The gap between GOSSIP GIRL’s media attention, vs. the number of viewers was pointed out, and Ostroff was pretty impressed by the disconnect between the “perceived” audience, and the affect that the show was having on the marketplace. She’d read a story in the New York Times that when a new item appears on the show, it immediately sells out in Bloomingdale’s. She chalked it up to the antiquated Nielsen ratings sytem, and wants to move to a new method of tracking ratings. “No viewer should be left behind,” she claimed.
The CW is kicking their Fall season off a bit early this year, with a premiere of GOSSIP GIRL and ONE TREE HILL on Monday, September 1st, which is about three weeks earlier than all of the other networks. They’ve even been discussing launching the season during the summer next year, and shooting their pilots in October/November. “We need to do things a little bit differently” in order to help them stand out on their own against the Big Four (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX). It’ll mean filling in part of the schedule with repeats and some other sort of filler. Does this mean we’re on the way to a year-long television schedule sometime?