The network was the last of the five major English-language broadcasters to nail down its spring schedule. Last season, the CW announced a back-nine order for Arrow on Oct. 22; the year before, the net said it would go the distance with Ringer, Hart of Dixie and The Secret Circle on Oct. 12.
A spinoff of the long-running supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries, The Originals is far and away the most successful new CW series. Through its first six episodes, the show is averaging 2.11 million live-plus-same-day viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49.
The Wednesday night sci-fi strip The Tomorrow People is drawing 1.93 million viewers and an 0.7 in the demo, while the costume drama Reign is averaging 1.76 million viewers and an 0.7 rating in its Thursday 9 p.m. time slot.
“In just a few seasons, we have built a much stronger prime-time schedule,” said Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW. “Our on-air ratings are up year to year, and our digital viewing continues to grow exponentially.”
Pedowitz went on to say that the network is “excited about the creative momentum the producers have established for all three … series,” adding that with the full-season orders and two new midseason dramas in the hopper (The 100 and Star-Crossed), the network will continue its commitment to airing original programming throughout the calendar year.
While neither The Tomorrow People nor Reign is putting up especially big numbers, both shows benefit from time-shifted viewing. The series premiere of The Tomorrow People improved 50 percent in the 18-34 demo upon application of live-plus-three-day viewing, while Reign is perhaps the most generationally inclusive show on the network. (Last week’s installment drew an 0.6 in the 18-49 demo, an 0.7 among the 18-34 crowd and an 0.7 with the 25-54 set.)
Sophomore superhero drama Arrow is the CW’s most-watched series, averaging 2.77 million viewers per night, while Supernatural is tops in the demo (1.1).
Season to date, the CW is up 9 percent in total viewers, up 10 percent among adults 18-49 and is flat year over year in both adults and women 18-34, per a blend of live-seven and live-same-day data. Thirty-one percent of the network’s overall broadcast audience now comes from time-shifted viewing after the original airdate.
Meanwhile, digital deliveries accounted for a whopping 40 percent of the CW’s overall audience for its season premieres. Digital streaming of full episodes is up 50 percent versus the year-ago period, and the three freshman series are subject to 84 percent more digital viewing than last fall’s three newbies (Arrow, Beauty & the Beast and Emily Owens, M.D.).
While a back-nine order effectively guarantees that fans will get to see 22 episodes of their favorite new drama, it is an unreliable indicator of a second-season pickup. Of the three new dramas to which the CW gave full commitments in 2011, only Hart of Dixie was renewed.