Why The CW Needs To Play In The Summer Sandbox

If a show premieres in the Fall and nobody hears about it, does it attract an audience?

When said audience lives in an era of unprecedented access to an immeasurable number of entertainment options at the click of a mouse (or fingertip), probably not. And why —following another dismal ratings report from the CW that had Monday night’s 90210 and GOSSIP GIRL hovering at well below the million viewer mark — we can’t help but wonder what CW President Dawn Ostroff is thinking.

Newsflash! Not everybody follows @cw_network on twitter, has Deadline Hollywood set as their homepage and spends every waking moment of their lives surfing the internet for television news. Some people have actual lives, and therein lies the problem.

Time and again, history has shown that despite the millions spent on splashy promotions and advertising campaigns, the most effective way to communicate a network’s Fall schedule and new offerings is through commercials airing throughout the summer. Unfortunately, despite Ostroff’s assertion at her recent state of the network address during the semi-annual Television Critics Association Press Tour that summer is “important for us to launch fall shows,” all evidence points to the contrary.

If Ostroff and the CW were actually serious about ensuring that fans are re-tweeting that 90210 and ONE TREE HILL are swapping timeslots come Fall, “liking” SUPERNATURAL’s move to Friday, and counting down the days until the premiere of highly-anticipated new shows such as HELLCATS and NIKITA (September 8th and 9th respectively) they wouldn’t be relying on this summer’s sad mix of repeats, reality and hastily imported Canadian shows (18 TO LIFE) to do so.

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  • bec

    I don't know why they even bothered with showing 18 To Life, considering they just sort of threw it on the schedule and didn't even promote it. 90210 repeats are getting better ratings.

  • Babygirrr

    I have actually been watching it and actually think its kinda cute (18 to life). Nothing I would obviously watch in the fall, I have too many shows already, but its cute summer fluff!

  • Nick

    Doesn't cable and ABC Family (Pretty Little Liars) prove that there ARE viewers in the summer, if only networks would program for them? I mean, when America's Got Talent and The Bachelor draw an audience…it sure makes you wonder how the “cutting edge” young-skewing network can't develop SOMETHING to interest the demo in June-July-Aug.

    Is Moonves giving the net zero dollars to work with? Does management WANT the network to fail? If not, then why is The CW–the only network with a median age under 40–being treated like a red-headed stepchild?

  • Nick

    Guess the honchos are reading…or not comprehending. They've now pulled 18 to Life, effective immediately, replacing it with Life Unexpected encores on Tue. Too bad, really, because I MUCH, MUCH, MUCH prefer watching a good comedy I haven't seen…over a drama repeat that I HAVE seen several (and I do mean “several”) times already.

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that programming room.

  • shanna

    I never heard about 18 to Life but I totally would have watched since two of my fave Canadians are headlining it.