The CW is TV’s newest major (if you want to call it that) broadcast network, even if you count the predecessors it was formed from—The WB and UPN—which date back to the mid-’90s. But it’s old enough by now to have a history, and the new shows it announced today, rounding out the broadcast upfronts for the year, recall that history very, very strongly.
For starters, Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of arguably the network’s most-acclaimed show ever, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (technically, it ran on both forebears, moving from The WB to UPN) has returned to the network—twice!—in Ringer, a thriller drama in which she plays identical twin sisters. (Prediction: evil identical triplet revealed in season-finale cliffhanger!)
But the other new-drama announcements (it’s all hourlong shows at the sitcom-free home of youth angst) also strongly recall other CW successes in their own way. Kevin Williamson’s drama about bloodsuckers, Vampire Diaries, will now be paired with Kevin Williamson’s drama about witches, The Secret Circle. Josh Schwartz’s drama about rich kids in New York, Gossip Girl, will be paired with Hart of Dixie, Josh Schwartz’s drama about a New Yorker transplanted to the South.
Rounding out the new selections is reality show H8R, which should be about vanity license plates but instead is about bringing celebrities together with people who hate on them. Or H8 on them, or however the kids say it nowadays.
The WB schedule release and show descriptions follow:
May 19, 2011 (New York, New York) �”� The CW Network unveiled the schedule for its 2011-2012 season today at its annual upfront presentation for advertisers, affiliates and national media from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Electro hip-hop group LMFAO staged a rousing flash mob dance and performed their hit song “Party Rock Anthem” to open the show. The announcement was made by Dawn Ostroff, President of Entertainment, and Mark Pedowitz, the new President of The CW.
[Executive we’re-so-excited boilerplate redacted.]
On Monday night, one of the most talked-about shows on television, GOSSIP GIRL, returns to the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot, leading into the new drama HART OF DIXIE from 9:00-10:00 p.m. From the creators of GOSSIP GIRL and “The O.C.,” HART OF DIXIE stars Rachel Bilson as Doctor Zoe Hart, a sophisticated New York City woman who finds herself practicing medicine in a small Southern town.
90210 graduated from West Beverly High and moves over to Tuesday nights, 8:00-9:00 p.m. Following 90210, 9:00-10:00 p.m., is one of the most buzzed-about shows of the new season, RINGER, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, who stars as a woman on the run, who assumes her twin sister’s identity, only to discover that her sister’s life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to escape.
On Wednesday, new reality series H8R brings celebrities face-to-face with the people who love to hate them, with host Mario Lopez, 8:00-9:00 p.m. With its focus on celebrity culture, H8R gives a great lead-in to the first-ever All-Stars edition of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL from 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Thursday night will feature two shows from star producer Kevin Williamson and based on a series of books by author L.J. Smith. The CW’s top-rated show THE VAMPIRE DIARIES returns in the 8:00-9:00 p.m. timeslot, leading into new drama THE SECRET CIRCLE from 9:00-10:00 p.m. Britt Robertson stars as Cassie, an orphaned teenage girl who discovers the truth about her lineage – she’s a witch who holds the key to an ancient battle between good and evil.
Friday nights are action-packed, with the sexy and exciting NIKITA moving to 8:00-9:00 p.m. and the Winchester brothers of SUPERNATURAL returning in the 9:00-10:00 p.m. timeslot.
Following is The CW’s 2011-2012 primetime schedule, a night-by-night breakdown and accompanying details on all the programs.
THE CW’s 2011-2012 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
8:00-9:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL (New Time)
9:00-10:00 PM HART OF DIXIE (New Series)
8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM RINGER (New Series)
8:00-9:00 PM H8R (New Series)
9:00-10:00 PM AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL
8:00-9:00 PM THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
9:00-10:00 PM THE SECRET CIRCLE (New Series)
8:00-9:00 PM NIKITA (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM SUPERNATURAL
8:00-9:00 P.M. “GOSSIP GIRL”
Season Four ended with Chuck Bass’s (Ed Westwick) heartbreaking decision to step aside and let Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) begin her new life as a Princess-to-be with her fiancé, Prince Louis (Hugo Becker). Meanwhile, Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), in sunny Los Angeles, was offered a fantastic summer job working for an A-List Hollywood director just as we discovered that Serena’s cousin, Charlie (Kaylee Defer), was the real actress in the family! Back in New York, a newly single Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) convinced Chuck to go on a hedonistic summer trip around the globe while Dan Humphrey’s (Penn Badgley) oldest friend went behind his back and found an editor to anonymously publish his autobiographical novel, “Inside.” Season Five will open in the City of Angels when a reenergized Chuck and Nate decide to pay Serena a visit. Back home, Blair learns that planning a royal wedding can be a royal pain, and Dan discovers the ramifications of writing candidly about his closest friends. Finally, the surprise return of cousin Charlie will threaten to destroy the van der Woodsen family from within. Watch out Upper East Siders, this season nobody’s safe, and everybody’s going to be sorry….XOXO, Gossip Girl. The series stars Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen, Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf, Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey, Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald, Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass, Kaylee DeFer as Charlie Rhodes, Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen and Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey. Filmed in New York and based on the popular series of young-adult novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, GOSSIP GIRL is from Fake Empire and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Josh Schwartz (“Chuck,” “The O.C.”), Stephanie Savage (“The O.C.”), Leslie Morgenstein (“The Vampire Diaries”), Bob Levy (“The Vampire Diaries”) and Joshua Safran.
9:00-10:00 P.M. “HART OF DIXIE”
Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out – after graduating top of her class from medical school, she’ll follow in her father’s footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will. She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn’t always so hospitable – the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe’s only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon’s fiancé. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe’s decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn’t known was there. The series stars Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, Jaime King as Lemon Breeland, Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella, Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes, McKaley Miller as Rose and Scott Porter as George Tucker. HART OF DIXIE is from Bonanza Productions Inc., in association with Fake Empire, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Leila Gerstein (“Gossip Girl,” “Eli Stone”), Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck,” “The O.C.”), Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “The O.C.”), Len Goldstein and Jason Ensler (“Gossip Girl,” “Chuck”). The pilot was directed by Jason Ensler.
8:00-9:00 P.M. “90210”
The fourth season of 90210 follows the group from West Beverly as they navigate life after high school. Their journey into adulthood will find them heading in different directions while trying to keep the same closeness that worked so well for them in high school. This tight-knit circle of friends will meet new people, resulting in friendships, relationships and loyalties being tested. Some will attend college, while others will start their careers. It’s a new and different time for them, as the stakes are much higher and there is a lot more to lose. Coming from a world of glamour and privilege, with endless possibilities in front of them, anything can happen. All in all, it’s just another day in the world’s most famous zip code. The series stars Shenae Grimes as Annie Wilson, Tristan Wilds as Dixon Wilson, AnnaLynne McCord as Naomi Clark, Jessica Stroup as Silver, Michael Steger as Navid Shirazi, Jessica Lowndes as Adrianna Tate-Duncan, Matt Lanter as Liam Court, Trevor Donovan as Teddy Montgomery and Gillian Zinser as Ivy. 90210 is produced by CBS Television Studios with executive producers Patti Carr (“Life Unexpected,” “Private Practice”) and Lara Olsen (“Life Unexpected,” “Private Practice”).
9:00-10:00 P.M. “RINGER”
Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. Bridget is six months sober and starting to turn her life around when she is the sole witness to a professional hit. Despite the assurances of her FBI protector, Agent Victor Machado, Bridget knows her life is on the line. She flees to New York, telling no one, not even her Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Malcolm. In New York, Bridget reunites with her estranged twin, Siobhan. Wealthy, pampered and married to the strikingly handsome Andrew Martin, Siobhan lives what appears to be a fairy tale life – a life where no one knows that Bridget exists. The sisters seem to be mending their frayed relationship, until Siobhan disappears mysteriously, and Bridget makes the split decision to take on her sister’s identity. She discovers shocking secrets, not only about her sister and her marriage, but also about Siobhan’s best friend, Gemma, and Gemma’s husband, Henry. And when someone tries to kill Bridget in her sister’s penthouse, she realizes she is no safer as Siobhan than she is as herself. The series stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Bridget and Siobhan, Kristoffer Polaha as Henry, Ioan Gruffudd as Andrew Martin, Nestor Carbonell as Agent Victor Machado and Tara Summers as Gemma. RINGER is produced by CBS Television Studios and Warner Bros. Television in association with ABC Television Studios and Brillstein Entertainment with executive producers Pam Veasey (“CSI, NY,” “The District”), Peter Traugott (“Samantha Who?”) and Emmy Award-winner Richard Shepard (“Ugly Betty”). The pilot was directed by Richard Shepard.
8:00-9:00 P.M. “H8R”
Celebrities go head-to-head with civilians who hate them to win their “haters” over. Hosted by Mario Lopez, H8R is from Horizon Alternative Television with executive producers Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey (“Extra”), Jeremy Spiegel (“Extra”) and Mario Lopez.
9:00-10:00 P.M. “AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL”
AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL returns for another season, with Tyra Banks kicking off cycle seventeen by bringing back an all-star cast of fan favorites and outrageous characters from previous cycles of the show. These women of various backgrounds, shapes and sizes return to prove that they can make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of modeling and celebrity, featuring an exciting line-up of special guest judges. There is a lot at stake with these seasoned veterans, poised to earn the prestigious title of “America’s Next Top Model,” that previously eluded them. Time has passed and these models have changed…for better and for worse. In addition to exposure to prolific fashion-industry gurus and successful entrepreneurs, the finalists will compete in complicated catwalks, ambitious fashion photo shoots and work to carefully craft their public personas, all under 24-hour-a-day surveillance of the cameras that chronicle every move. The executive producers are Ken Mok (“Making the Band”), Tyra Banks and Laura Fuest. The series was created by Tyra Banks and developed by Mok and Kenya Barris. AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL is produced by 10 by 10 Entertainment in association with Bankable Productions.
8:00-9:00 P.M. “THE VAMPIRE DIARIES”
Based on the best-selling book series, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is the story of two vampire brothers, obsessed with the same gorgeous girl, who are battling to control the fate of an entire town. In season one, Stefan and Damon Salvatore returned to their hometown of Mystic Falls, Virginia, for very different reasons. Stefan was determined to get to know Elena Gilbert, who bears a striking resemblance to Katherine Pierce, the beautiful but ruthless vampire the brothers knew and loved — in 1864. Damon, on the other hand, was intent on releasing Katherine from the tomb where he believed she was trapped by a witch’s spell all those years ago. In the explosive season finale, Elena’s uncle set a plan in motion that saw the return of the vengeful Katherine Pierce. In season two, Katherine’s appearance and her precise manipulation threw a wrench into the love triangle between Stefan, Elena and Damon, and the other residents of Mystic Falls were forced to choose sides as they fell victim to a new breed of danger. Stefan and Damon were later met with their greatest challenge yet — the arrivals of Elijah and Klaus, two of the “original” vampires. As Klaus goes head to head with Damon and takes a special interest in Stefan, he is also seemingly focused on breaking the “Sun and Moon” curse by sacrificing Elena. Yet no matter what action the brothers take to protect Elena, Klaus won’t be swayed from his mission, proving to be the most powerful vampire in existence. Season three opens the door to learn more about Klaus and The Original Family as his motives for wanting Stefan on his side are finally revealed. As Stefan sinks deeper into the dark side, Damon and Elena struggle with the guilt of their growing bond even as they work together to bring Stefan back from the edge. The ghosts from Jeremy’s past have a powerful message they’re trying to deliver to him, not to mention the impact they’re having on his relationship with Bonnie. And as Caroline and Tyler grow closer, a war erupts between their families. The series stars Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert, Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore, Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore, Steven R. McQueen as Jeremy Gilbert, Kat Graham as Bonnie Bennett, Candice Accola as Caroline Forbes, Zach Roerig as Matt Donovan, Michael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood, Matt Davis as Alaric Saltzman and Joseph Morgan as Klaus. Based on the series of books by L. J. Smith, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is from Bonanza Productions Inc., Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (“Scream,” “Dawson’s Creek”), Julie Plec (“Kyle XY,” “Wasteland”), Leslie Morgenstein (“Gossip Girl,” “Private”) and Bob Levy (“Gossip Girl,” “Privileged”).
9:00-10:00 P.M. “THE SECRET CIRCLE”
Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident. The series stars Britt Robertson as Cassie Blake, Thomas Dekker as Adam Conant, Gale Harold as Charles Meade, Phoebe Tonkin as Fay Chamberlain, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa, Shelley Hennig as Diana Meade, Louis Hunter as Nick, Ashley Crow as Jane Blake and Natasha Henstridge as Dawn Chamberlain. Based upon the book series by L.J. Smith (author of “The Vampire Diaries” book series), THE SECRET CIRCLE is from Outerbanks Entertainment and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream,” “Dawson’s Creek”), Andrew Miller (“Imaginary Bitches”), Leslie Morgenstein (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl”) and Gina Girolamo. Elizabeth Craft (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie to Me”) & Sarah Fain (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Lie to Me”) were executive producers on the pilot which was directed by Liz Friedlander (“The Vampire Diaries,” “90210”).
8:00-9:00 P.M. “NIKITA”
In season one of this sexy and suspenseful series featuring international action star Maggie Q in the title role, the charming and deadly Nikita waged a war against Division, the agency that created her. Michael — the man who trained her, a man she trusted — was hunting her. But Nikita had an ace up her sleeve: Alex, a girl she trained to infiltrate this secret unit of the government. At the end of season one, Nikita and Alex’s relationship had been shattered, and Nikita and Michael’s relationship was restored. Now, Nikita and Michael are on the run with a hard drive containing the government’s darkest secrets and conspiracies. Together, they are going to right the wrongs that Division has committed over the years, one mission at a time. But leading the hunt for them this time is Alex…and she knows all of Nikita’s tricks. The series stars Maggie Q as Nikita, Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex, Shane West as Michael, Aaron Stanford as Birkhoff, with Melinda Clarke as Amanda and Xander Berkeley as Percy. NIKITA is from Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, with executive producers Craig Silverstein (“Bones,” “K-Ville”), David Levinson (“The Commish”), Danny Cannon (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Chuck”), McG (“Supernatural,” “Chuck,” “The O.C.,” “Charlie’s Angels”) and Peter Johnson (“Supernatural,” “Chuck”).
9:00-10:00 P.M. “SUPERNATURAL”
Returning for its seventh season, this haunting series follows Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers bound by tragedy and blood to the one thing that runs through both their veins − hunting monsters. This past season, Dean and Sam faced insurmountable obstacles: Sam returned from Hell without his soul, and Dean risked everything to get it back for him. The power struggle between good and evil raged on, with the new King of Hell, Crowley, ultimately emerging as their adversary. Shockingly, Crowley had made a secret deal with Sam and Dean’s closest friend, the angel Castiel, who is now a desperate freedom fighter on the losing side of a post-Apocalyptic civil war in Heaven; together, the uneasy allies sought to open a door to Purgatory, where a great untapped well of souls lie waiting to be used as the ultimate form of military power. Sam and Dean reeled from the betrayal by their friend — and raced to stop the angel and demon before they opened that dangerous, otherworldly door. Now, in season seven, the Winchesters will find themselves in an increasingly sinister, changing landscape, up against a new foe unlike anything they’ve ever fought. They’ll find their old tricks, weapons and hiding places all rendered useless. All they’ll have is each other. And the certainty that, like the last of the cowboy outlaws, whatever they face, they’re not going down without a fight. The series stars Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Misha Collins as Castiel. SUPERNATURAL is from Warner Bros. Television in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision, with executive producers McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “The O.C.”), Robert Singer (“Midnight Caller”), Sera Gamble and Phil Sgriccia.
“ONE TREE HILL”
Season eight of ONE TREE HILL saw the characters moving away from glamour, fame and wealth and instead dealing with the delicate balance that contemporary twenty-somethings face as they endeavor to build and define what their lives will be. Fashion designer Brooke Davis lost her company but found love with Julian Baker, was married and gave birth to twins. Haley James Scott supported her husband Nathan as he lost his NBA career to an injury, but she also won a personal battle with depression and ultimately gave birth to a daughter to compliment their son Jamie. Nathan’s friend and business partner Clay Evans survived an attack by the psychotic Katie to find love and happiness with Quinn James, who not only survived the same attack, but also vanquished the threat of Katie in a harrowing confrontation. Alex Dupré began a promising singing career and also a promising relationship with Chase Evans, who joined the Air Force and returned with a newfound maturity and perspective. And Millicent Huxtable began a broadcasting career, ultimately launching a morning show with her boyfriend Mouth McFadden. In season nine, how will Brooke and Julian juggle parenthood and their very young careers? With Nathan traveling more as an agent, how will Haley’s life change with a second child, an increasingly independent Jamie, and a busy café to run? Is a wedding in store for Quinn and Clay? Or Mouth and Millicent? And what’s to become of Alex and Chase and their burgeoning romance? Following a fictional four year jump in time, “One Tree Hill” has now spent four seasons exploring the experiences of twenty-somethings. Season nine will continue to grow and break new ground, as the show approaches the rarified air of 200 episodes. The series stars Sophia Bush as Brooke Davis, Bethany Joy Galeotti as Haley James Scott, James Lafferty as Nathan Scott, Robert Buckley as Clay Evans, Austin Nichols as Julian Baker, Shantel VanSanten as Quinn James and Jackson Brundage as Jamie Scott. ONE TREE HILL was created by Mark Schwahn and is executive produced by Schwahn, Joe Davola, Greg Prange, Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins. The series is produced by Mastermind Laboratories and Tollin/Robbins Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher is planning to bring together hundreds of small agencies around the world in a new venture called The Network. The Network will give Paul the leverage to change the industry from the inside out. He has two missions: to make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed, and to empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives. RE-MODELED is from Fly on the Wall Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television with executive producers Allison Grodner (“Big Brother,” “You’re Cut Off,” “She’s Got The Look,” “Plain Jane”), Rich Meehan (“Big Brother,” “You’re Cut Off,” “She’s Got The Look,” “Plain Jane”), Amy Palmer (“You’re Cut Off,” “Plain Jane”), Paul Fisher (“I Want To Be A Hilton”), Greg Seuss (“What’s Wrong with Virginia,” “Tug”) and Erik Stone (“Aisha Tyler Is Lit: Live at the Fillmore”).
What happens when your whole life is reduced to one Frame? There’s only one rule: if you’re out of the Frame, you’re out of the game. Ten teams of two, chosen for their dynamic personalities and their existing deep-rooted relationships, are selected to compete in this wild social experiment. These teams will each live in one Frame – a stripped down version of their home living space – for up to 8 weeks, with the entire world watching their inter-personal soap operas play out atop a highly formatted game. Couples cannot physically see one another, but each “frame” is rigged with plasma screens & communication devices that allow for visual and verbal interaction. The teams will face outrageous challenges, punishments, head-to-head competitions, and eliminations, all while isolated from the outside world. With 24/7 web cams streaming content live, and a bi-weekly television show, audiences will vote for – and have control over – many elements of the show, from rewards to punishments to eliminations. The last couple standing will be America’s favorite pair, and walk away with a cash prize. THE FRAME is from Shed Media and Armoza International Media with executive producers Nick Emmerson (“Bethenny Ever After,” “Supernanny,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “The Real Housewives of New York City”) and Jen O’Connell (“Bethenny Ever After,” “Supernanny,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “The Real Housewives of New York City”).