A year after the WB and UPN merged to become the CW, the network is shaking off many of the programs it inherited and coming up with a lineup all its own. It's heavy on reality shows, with a couple of dramas and a teen comedy thrown in for good measure.
But as for the big question: "Veronica Mars" is dead. However, network president Dawn Ostroff told reporters that she was talking to series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell about doing something else. She later gave this confusing quote to TV Guide's Michael Ausiello:
"Veronica Mars is over, but we're talking about something else. I don't know if it's going to be anything. I'm being honest with you. It could come back in some form, but I don't know what form that would be."
Update: Rob Thomas just said nobody's talked to him about a new project. Moment of silence, "Mars" fans. It doesn't look good.
On the positive side, the Bell-narrated "Gossip Girl" is a go, along with comedy "Aliens in America," supernatural series "Reaper," and family drama "Life is Wild." As for returning shows, here was some of the news:
- "One Tree Hill" will stay off the air until midseason, then be retooled dramatically with the characters zooming four years into the future, after college graduation. A series of diaries posted online will help fill in the gap.
- "Pussycat Dolls Present" will be back for a second season, though I'm not sure if they'll still be looking for another doll.
- "Beauty and the Geek" is moving to Tuesday nights.
Gone: "All of Us," "Reba," "Gilmore Girls," "7th Heaven," "Veronica Mars"
Here's the network's press release, and to see the network's full schedule and read descriptions of the new shows,
All caps = new show
** = new time slot
8-8:30 p.m. "Everybody Hates Chris"
8:30-9 p.m. "ALIENS IN AMERICA"
9-9:30 p.m. "Girlfriends"
9:30-10 p.m. "The Game"
8-9 p.m. "Beauty and the Geek"**
9-10 p.m. "REAPER"
8-9 p.m. "America's Next Top Model"
9-10 p.m. "GOSSIP GIRL"
8-9 p.m. "Smallville"
9-10 p.m. "Supernatural"
8-10 p.m. "Friday Night SmackDown"
7-7:30 p.m. "CW NOW"
7:30-8 p.m. "ONLINE NATION"
8-9 p.m. "LIFE IS WILD"
9-10 p.m. "America's Next Top Model" repeat
Coming midseason: "Crowned," "One Tree Hill," "Farmer Wants a Wife"
Here's how the CW describes the shows:
"Aliens in America"
Justin Tolchuk (Dan Byrd, "The Hills Have Eyes") is a sensitive, lanky 16-year-old just trying to make it through the social nightmare of high school in Medora, Wisconsin, with the help of his well-meaning mom Franny (Amy Pietz, "Caroline in the City"), aspiring-entrepreneur dad Gary (Patrick Breen, "Kevin Hill"), and his popular sister Claire (Lindsey Shaw, "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide"), who is sweetly unaware of how good-looking she is. When Franny signs up for the school's international exchange student program, she pictures an athletic, brilliant Nordic teen who will bestow instant coolness on her outsider son. However, when the Tolchuk's exchange student arrives, he turns out to be Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan, "Fair City"), a 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim. Despite the cultural chasm between them, Justin and Raja quickly develop an unlikely friendship that just might allow them to navigate the minefield that is contemporary high school. It's going to be a very interesting year for Raja, Justin, his family and the entire population of Medora.
For the first 20 years of his life, Sam (Bret Harrison, "The Loop," "Grounded for Life") wondered why his parents went so easy on him. Whether it was school, sports or career choices, Sam's mom (Allison Hossack, "Falcon Beach") and dad (Andrew Airlie, "The L Word") always let him get by with the least possible effort, while at the same time pressuring his younger brother Keith (Kyle Switzer, "15/Love") to excel. As a result, Sam skipped college, took a dead-end job and now wastes endless hours playing video games and wishing he had the guts to ask out his pretty co-worker, Andi (Nikki Reed, "Thirteen," "The O.C."). Everything in his slacker world changes the day Sam turns 21 and discovers the ungodly reason his parents let him slide: they sold his soul to the devil before he was born. Satan himself (Ray Wise, "24," "The Closer") drops by to personally explain that Sam must now serve as his bounty hunter, tracking down evil souls that have escaped and returning them to Hell. At first, Sam refuses to accept his bizarre fate, but after getting just a glimpse of Satan's temper, Sam realizes that breaking a deal with the devil has consequences that are very, very bad. Armed with a constantly changing series of vessels — starting with a Dirt Devil mini-vacuum — to collect the escapees, Sam immediately finds that the work is dangerous and frightening, even with the goofball help of his friends and fellow slackers, Bert "Sock" Wysocki (Tyler Labine, "Boston Legal," "Invasion") and Ben (Rick Gonzalez, "Coach Carter"), along with Sock's former-girlfriend-turned-paralegal, Josie (Valarie Rae Miller, "Dark Angel"). Still, as weird and scary as his life has become, Sam is surprised to find that he somehow feels good about his newfound "mission" — removing evil-doers from the world and sending them back where they belong. With his friends and his trusty vessel-of-the-week at his side, Sam is ready to face his destiny as the Reaper.
The privileged prep school teens on Manhattan's Upper East Side first learn that Serena Van Der Woodsen (Blake Lively, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") is back in town the way they learn all the important news in their lives ?? from the blog of the all-knowing albeit ultra-secretive Gossip Girl. No one knows Gossip Girl's identity, but everyone in this exclusive and complicated vicious circle relies on her text messages for the latest scoop. Serena's closest friend, Blair (Leighton Meester, "Surface"), is just as surprised as everyone else to find that Serena has suddenly ended her self-imposed exile to boarding school and returned to Manhattan. The tension between Blair and Serena isn't lost on Gossip Girl, who is determined to uncover and fuel any and all scandals. Does it involve Serena's brother Eric (Connor Paolo, "One Life to Live"), Blair's boyfriend Nate (Chace Crawford, "The Covenant") or Nate's buddy Chuck (Ed Westwick, "Children of Men") — Maybe it has something to do with Dan (Penn Badgley, "John Tucker Must Die") and his sister Jenny (Taylor Momsen, "Spy Kids 2," "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"), whose middle-class background keeps them on the fringes of this exclusive clique. Even the parents — from Serena's mother Lily (Kelly Rutherford, "Melrose Place"), a former ballerina/rock-groupie, to Nate's high-powered father Howie "The Captain" Archibald (Sam Robards, "The West Wing"), to Dan and Jenny's dad Rufus (Matthew Settle, "Brothers and Sisters"), a former rocker turned art gallery owner — are aware that their sons and daughters are constantly checking their Sidekicks to read Gossip Girl's latest sightings and overheard tidbits. Overriding all the shifting friendships, jealousies and turmoil in this wealthy and complex world, the central mystery remains — Who Is Gossip Girl?
"CW Now" blends news and entertainment to create the ultimate source for everything that's hip, hot and happening right now in the world of young adults. With a team of experts focusing on the topics and trends that appeal specifically to The CW generation, this new series will feature informative and entertaining reports on the hottest fashions, the coolest music, the must-see movies and the must-have gadgets and technology. "CW Now" will be everywhere young adults are: from cyberspace profiling the best of the web, to hitting the streets and getting inside the most popular hotspots. With young adults' insatiable appetite for all things celebrity, each episode will report on the latest news and gossip from inside the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Moving at a rapid-fire pace and utilizing eye-catching graphics and visuals, "CW Now" fits perfectly with the on-demand lifestyle of adults 18-34.
Young adults have taken their quest for fame into their own hands as the amount of user-generated entertainment continues to explode across the internet. Now The CW is giving them a nationally televised stage to show off what they've got. "Online Nation" scours the nearly infinite number of websites, blogs and user-generated materials on the internet to find the best, the hottest, the unique and sometimes, the flat-out bizarre, and presents it on The CW audience's other favorite screen: the TV screen. This fun, irreverent weekly series features everything and anything that has captured the attention of the online world, from the most popular sites to the addictive viral videos being shared by millions, to insights from the digital tastemakers. Born of the internet and tailored specifically for this generation, this series also features an innovative interactive element as viewers will be able to see what others are saying and communicate with them live on the air. The CW is turning mouse potatoes into couch potatoes by putting all the greatest internet clips in one ready-to-use package.
"Life is Wild"
Katie Clarke (Leah Pipes, "Clubhouse") may never forgive her veterinarian father, Danny (Brett Cullen, "Ghost Rider," "Friday Night Lights"), for dragging their entire blended family out of New York City to spend a year living in a broken-down lodge called The Blue Antelope in a game reserve deep inside South Africa. Everyone in the family, including Katie's 11-year-old brother Chase (K'sun Ray, "Smith"), Danny's second wife Jo (Judith Hoag, "Armageddon"), her rebellious teenage son Jesse (Andrew St. John, "General Hospital") and 7-year-old daughter, Mia (Mary Matilyn Mouser, "Eloise"), is sure Danny has lost his mind. But Danny's reasons go beyond his desire to keep his troubled family together while making a difference in the lives of the people and animals of South Africa: his deceased first wife Claire grew up at The Blue Antelope and it's still home to her reclusive father Art (David Butler). After just a few days in South Africa, the family has already encountered an injured lioness, a lost cub, and a gentle giraffe. They've also met a few locals, including a handsome young Brit, Oliver Banks (newcomer Calvin Goldspink) and his twin sister Emily (newcomer Tiffany Mulheron), whose father Colin Banks (Jeremy Sheffield), runs a safari business for wealthy tourists, and Tumelo (newcomer Atandwa Kani), a teen who dreams of becoming a veterinarian. While they are definitely outsiders, Katie and the rest of the family are nevertheless beginning to love the breathtaking vistas of the bush country and the vibrant culture enveloping them. A year in this strange but beautiful place might not be so bad after all.
"Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants"
Judges Carson Kressley ("Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"), former Miss U.S.A. Shanna Moakler ("Dancing with the Stars," "Meet the Barkers"), and television personality Cynthia Garrett referee an eight-episode competition that dares to pit mother/daughter teams against each other in a no-holds-barred beauty pageant. "Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants" explores one of the most emotional and volatile relationships as mothers and daughters from all walks of life must compete together ?? and against other mother/daughter teams ?? in order to win. Faced with challenges that focus on preparing them for the pageant show finale, the women will have to brand a 'style' for their mother/daughter team via clothing and swimwear, create ways of expressing a point of view about issues in the world, and practice for the big pageant dance number. Not only do good looks, talent and a penchant for world peace have to run in the family, each team must also have patience, teamwork and a healthy sense of humor. In the end, one mother/daughter team will be "crowned" the winner and will receive a valuable prize package, including a $100,000 cash award, and, of course, a fabulous pair of tiaras.
"Farmer Wants a Wife"
The CW cultivates romance a la "Green Acres" with "Farmer Wants a Wife," a comedic reality series designed to help one farm boy find the city girl of his dreams. Based on the hit British format, this first U.S. version will find a charming, hard-working farmer who is happy with his life but lacking romance and wondering if he might find happiness with a woman from the city. The show's producers will search the nation's cities to select a group of 10 women who have had it with bad dates in the big city and are open to making a big change. The group will consist of women looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and wondering if a country man with country values might offer a more attractive lifestyle. "Farmer Wants a Wife" will bring these city women to the country farmer. The ladies will have to impress him with their heart and their newfound "love" of the country life, or they'll be sent back to the city. Are these city girls ready for the realities of life and work on a farm — driving a tractor, taking care of very large farm animals and attending bingo night? Through a series of challenges, group activities, shocking eliminations and cozy dates, 10 fast-lane women will see how they match up with a back-roads guy on the path to true love.
Photo courtesy of The CW