The fall schedule of the CW, the network that will emerge from the ashes of UPN and WB Network, will be a patchwork of old and new with a comedy block on Sunday and familiar 8 p.m. anchors on Monday-Thursday.
CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff will give advertisers and the media their first glimpse of the nascent network and its programming strategy Thursday when she unveils its inaugural fall lineup in New York.
In a surprising move, the network Wednesday night gave an eleventh-hour 13-episode order to the WB comedy “Reba,” which was presumed to be on the chopping block.
But canceling “Reba,” which was in the middle of a two-year contract between WB and producer 20th Century Fox TV, would have been costly for the CW, with sources pegging the penalty at about $20 million, including compensating the studio for lost syndication revenue from the sixth-season episodes that would have not been produced.
“Reba” is the second WB veteran series to get a 13-episode reprieve. Also Wednesday, the network finalized deals with the core cast of “7th Heaven,” which recently aired its series finale.
“7th Heaven” will return for an 11th season in its signature Monday 8 p.m. slot. The long-running family drama about Rev. Eric Camden and his clan will be followed at 9 p.m. by another family drama, the new series “Runaway,” which centers on a father, wrongfully convicted of murder, who is on the run with his wife and kids.
Also staying put is WB’s “Gilmore Girls,” which will open Tuesday night for CW at 8 p.m., leading into UPN’s fan favorite “Veronica Mars.”
UPN’s hit reality series “America’s Next Top Model” will remain at Wednesday 8 p.m., sharing the slot with WB’s reality hit “Beauty and the Geek.” The teen-friendly hour will be followed at 9 p.m. by WB’s steamy teen drama “One Tree Hill.”
WB’s successful pairing of sci-fi dramas “Smallville” and “Supernatural” will stay intact on Thursday, while UPN’s “WWE SmackDown!” will remain on Friday.
On Sunday, UPN’s comedies “Everybody Hates Chris,” “All of Us,” “Girlfriends” and its spinoff “The Game” will run in a two-hour block along with an hour of recycled CW programming, a page from WB’s playbook.