Surprise: Teeny-tiny CW network grows (a little)


The good news is that the CW network -- always an interesting one -- is adding a night; that starts Sunday, Oct. 14. And the better news is that it's doing it with some good shows, "Supergirl" and the new "Charmed." Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

The CW has always
been a mini-network, a speck alongside the Disney/Netflix/NBC giants.

It went from two
networks (WB and UPN) to one (CW), from six nights to five. It seemed
settled on 10 hours a week, with micro-ratings.

Now comes the
change: The network is adding a sixth night, with two of its best
shows (“Supergirl” and “Charmed”) on Sundays. It has at least
five more scripted series in reserve, making reruns rare, even in the
summer.

“It's what we
wanted to do,” said Mark Pedowitz, the programming chief. “We
want to stay in scripted as much as we can, throughout the year.”

His network tends to
be awash in superpowers and the supernatural. One old show (starting
its 14th season) is literally called “Supernatural”; a
new one (debuting Oct. 25) has a teen who's the world's only
witch/werewolf/vampire tri-bred.

Its fans tend to be
young, female and tech-savvy, providing less emphasis on same-day
ratings. “We view the world from a linear, streaming point of
view,” Pedowitz said.

There's delayed
viewing ... and subsequent Netflix runs ... and sales to other
countries, where fantasy does well. Those Sunday shows are prime
examples.

“Supergirl” fits
the modern emphasis on strong women; so do the three “Charmed”
characters – bi-racial half-sisters who learn they're witches.
“They're in a university town ... that is really a cultural melting
pot of different ideas, different beliefs,” said producer Jennie
Snyder Urman.

For that matter,
there are different beliefs among the show's writers, said producer
Jessica O'Toole. “We meditate at the beginning of the day.”

The writing staff
even includes a Latino witch, she said. “He and his friends ...
would meet once a week and do spells and put energy out there toward
goals.” It's a CW kind of thing.

CW in brief

-- New night,
Sundays: On Oct. 14, “Supergirl” has its season-opener at 8 p.m.,
“Charmed” debuts at 9.

-- Also new: “All
American,” 9 p.m. Wednesdays; “Legacies,” will be 9 p.m.
Thursdays, starting Oct. 25. The former isn't supernatural; it's the
culture-clash tale of a teen football star moving from a tough
neighborhood to Beverly Hills. The latter is very supernatural,
centering on a witch/werewolf/vampire.

-- Still coming:
“Arrow” opens its season at 8 p.m. Monday (Oct. 15); “Legends
of Tomorrow” starts a week later, a 9 p.m. Oct. 22.

-- The other shows:
“The Flash” and “Black Lightning” on Tuesdays; “Riverdale”
at 8 p.m. Wednesdays; “Supernatural” at 8 p.m. Thursdays;
“Dynasty” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on Fridays.

-- In reserve:
Three returning shows -- “Jane the Virgin,” “iZombie” and
“The 100” -- plus two new ones, “In the Dark” and a “Roswell”
reboot. Other shows are in the works, including “Batwoman,” and
CW tends to add lower-cost summer shows.

-- Tough times: On
“Arrow,” Oliver Queen is currently in prison for his vigilante
deeds as The Green Arrow ... On “Riverdale,” Archie Andrews is in
juvenile detention for a murder he didn't commit ... On “Black
Lightning,” our hero is sought by police. It's tough to be a good
guy on the CW.