Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Network Report Card '08, III: The CW

How do you grade a network that would consider ultimate success to have a show crack the top 100 of the Nielsen Ratings?

Well, in my case, very carefully. You have to look at a relative set of guidelines when the CW's top-rated show is "America's Next Top Model," which tied for 127th in the final ratings.

The CW continues to aim at young viewers in the age-range that advertisers covet, and when you factor that in, the numbers improve - slightly. But the CW is giving up its Sunday nights next season, and some people think that might signal the death knell of the network.

WHAT WAS GOOD: Quality-wise, the CW found some pretty good scripts and did something with them. "Aliens In America" was the best sitcom no one watched. "Supernatural" may be TV's most underrated show. "Reaper" and "Gossip Girl" developed cult followings.

The CW's bread and butter continues to be those reality style shows like "Model" and the teen-oriented shows listed above, as well as "One Tree Hill" and "Smallville."

WHAT WAS BAD: "Aliens" didn't make it, and "Reaper" barely hung on. "Gossip Girl," which no doubt drew its inspiration from the original "Beverly Hills, 90210," had enough success to lead the network to foist a "90210" sequel upon us for next season.

The network's No. 2 rated program? "Friday Night Smackdown." Um, yeah.

OVERALL: Thank God this network can survive on cult followings, because the one-episode flop "Secret Talents of the Stars" ranked higher than any other CW show except "Model." But depending on how much patience the suits have, the CW does provide a place for the cult hits to thrive with little pressure on having to deliver big numbers. (We "Supernatural" fans are grateful).

GRADE: D+. Only the quality of a few shows managed to keep the CW from complete failure.


WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Men In Trees" (ABC, 10 p.m.) winds down to its finale, pretty much owning the night as the only new dramatic show.

For the reality fans, "She's Got the Look" (TV Land, 10 p.m.), about women over 35 competing to be models, has drawn a bit of buzz. If nothing else, it should provide a contrast to "Top Model."


Coastbunny said...

Should you be grading on a curve?

Phillip Ramati said...

That's how I made through school!

You have to give the networks a bit of a break because the strike hrew such a massive wrench into the works. The networks all took breaks with a lot of quality shows (Pushing Daisies, Chuck, etc), while others had major storylines altered from original plans.

And, because, I'm a nice TV critic.

Coastbunny said...

Yes, you are...

It does feel like a lot of the quality new shows from last season are "repeating" their freshman year, doesn't it?

Phillip Ramati said...

The good part of it is, a lot of shows got renewed with middling ratings.

The bad part is, why aren't the networks offering reruns of some of these shows, to allow viewers who missed them the first time to catch the buzz? It'd be a better option than the game show/reality fare the networks are offering.

Coastbunny said...

Yes, I remember the "good old days" when we got the series refreshers during the summer.

In a time when there are numerous new summer offerings (good and bad) on so many different channels, stations have no choice but to do what they feel they need to do to keep up with the Jones.

Oh and just an aside, I believe "Beverly Hills, 90210" was one of the first series to try the year-round model on FOX oh so many years ago.

zodin2008 said...

As someone who was a big time "90210" fan back in the day on Fox, I for one will try out the new version, but mainly because Jennie Garth is back on board in her iconic 'rich bitch turn damsel in distress turned heroine' Kelli Taylor' role.

I am nostalgic! I just hope this means the clearly available Luke Perry also returns as Dylan "No, Jack No!" McKay and that he plays Kelli's now deadbeat husband!

I give the CW a C for their programming. I watched 2 of their shows this year - Smallville and Supernatural - and I would say "Supernatural" is one of the five best shows on TV, bar none.
That right their alone gives the channle a mild pass for other bad shows and terrible ratings.

As for their ratings, you still have to give them an F, becuasr they've made NO progress and their's now talk the unified version of UPN and the WB may go belly up next year. You have to factor that in and give them a poor grade.

Phillip Ramati said...

OK, when I was in school, I got one final grade. I realize times have changed a lot in two decades, but still, the networks are getting one grade from me. It was the quality of a few shows on CW that pulled its overall grade out from being an F.