TCA: Exec Session With CW President Dawn Ostroff

Mass appeal, no. But the positive news for The CW going into the 2010-11 season is its first fall line-up of all original programming (translation: no unnecessary repeat telecast of America’s Next Top Model) and a schedule focused on a young female targeted demographic.

“As The CW enters its fifth year, we are well positioned for growth,” said CW president Dawn Ostroff, during her networks executive session at the television critics press tour Wednesday. “We’ve made some strategic moves with our returning shows, and we are introducing two new shows this season in Hellcats and Nikita. They are both on brand for us, on target for our viewers, and we are very excited about them.”

“As the first network born in the digital age, tapping into all of the different media platforms isn’t just part of our strategy, it’s actually in our DNA, influencing everything that we do,” added Ostroff. “We were the first network to use Twitter and Facebook to connect with our audience and talk about our shows. And what’s interesting is that now Facebook and Google meet with their clients and ask if they could use us as an example as to how they should be using the technology.”

While The CW has successfully attracted a young female audience, not everything is a bed of roses, so to speak. 90210 and veteran One Tree Hill are not strong enough dramas to anchor Monday and Tuesday. Returning Life Unexpected is a critic favorite still in search of an audience. And aging hours America’s Next Top Model and Smallville have lost plenty of steam over the years.

On the subject of sitcoms, or lack or it in the case of The CW, the network will debut Canadian produced 18 to Life, with back-to-back episodes beginning on August 3 from 9-10 p.m.

“We don’t really develop comedies as a comedy department,” said Ostroff. “When we hear something that’s funny, we develop it.  Sometimes it can fit as an hour. Sometimes we’ve developed half hours, but we do have a half-hour comedy coming on called 18 to Life in another week, and it’s a Canadian import. It’s charming. It’s single-camera film, a half-hour show, and if it does well, we’ll see where we go from there.”

As for Ostroff’s take on the departure of Steve McPherson at ABC:

“I’ve seen a lot of people who have come and go from these jobs and a lot of people who I really respect a lot, and everybody comes and goes for different reasons. So unfortunately for us, it’s not that unusual.”