Next year's CW schedule looks...almost completely like this years. The only surprise is the near-dumping of the network's long running superhero hit "Smallville". Here's the schedule:
8pm "Gossip Girl"
9pm "One Tree Hill"
9pm "Melrose Place"
8pm "America's Next Top Model"
9pm "The Beautiful Life"
8pm "Vampire Diaries"
9pm "America's Next Top Model" (repeats)
Word was out a while ago what pickups the network would be making and the only surprise left was the scheduling. Pairing the new "Melrose Place" with "90210" was a no brainer. The original Melrose premiered on the back of the original "Beverly Hills 90210" in Fox's 1992 fall season, so there was little doubt it wouldn't happen again. Let's just hope this new Melrose recreation is not as bad as CW's "90210".
Placing "Vampire Diaries" with "Supernatural" was a bit more of a surprise. While the premise and style of the two probably match much better than "Smallville" and "Supernatural", and the two will probably share more fans, I would not have expected the network the simply toss aside a long running series like "Smallville".
Sure, NBC is doing the same thing to 20 year vet "Law & Order" but that's due to declining ratings. Having just ended it's eighth season, which is near unheard of with teen oriented series, the shows ratings this last season remained near identical to the year before. At it's peak, season 2, the show earned ratings that were surprsingly high for it's network. The CW (and previously The WB) are kinda known for buzz worthy teen fare with low on air ratings but HUGE download numbers and the slow decline of "Smallville"'s ratings pretty much relate that.
The Friday 8pm slot is an absolute dead zone. Let's make no bones about it - Smallville's audience consists mainly of high school kids with a love of comic books, sci fi and terrible music and TV addicts, such as myself, that watch damn near everything. The TV addicts, of course, have DVR's and they'll be reprogrammed, but here's hoping the high school kids can talk their parents into getting DVR's if they don't already have them.
Truthfully, it seems as if it's been a struggle to get the show on the air the last few seasons with cast members wanting to leave leading to tougher contract negotiations and what not. This year, the show's ninth, will most likely be it's last and maybe the network figures to hell with the on air ratings, shove it to Friday and let everyone DVR or download it.