The CW Shows Get TCA Panel Treatment

Mediaweek correspondent Alan Frutkin and The Programming Insider Marc Berman sat down at TCA to discuss The CW’s lineup, scheduling quirks and analyze new programming moves. Also, below, read Marc’s in-depth analysis of The CW’s new slate of shows.
Click on the video below:


Wednesday 9 p.m.

-The Premise: The world of competitive college cheerleading is the focus of this ensemble drama. The cast includes Aly Michalka, Ashley Tisdale, Ben Browder, Elena Esovolova, Gail O’Grady, Heather Hemmens, Matt Barr, Robbie Jones and Sharon Leal.

-Lead-in: America’s Next Top Model 

-Competition: Modern Family (ABC) and Cougar Town (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS), Law & Order: SVU (NBC), Hell’s Kitchen (Fox)

-Who Was on the Panel: Aly Michaelka, Ashley Tinsdale; and executive producers Kevin Murphy and Tom Welling.

-The Scoop:

Kevin Murphy on the comparisons to Fox’s Glee: “The dancing is a huge component of the show, but it exists very much with one foot in the world of the characters because I think that nobody is going to tune in to the show to watch the awesome three minutes of dancing that we are going to provide. They are going to tune in because they really care about what’s going on with Marti and her law career and what’s going on with the relationship between the two central girls and the family relationships. That’s really, I think, where the show – the sweet spot where the show lives. I would never have the temerity to try to compete with Glee in terms of razzle dazzle and music things and, you know, all of that. It’s just that they’ve got that territory pretty well staked out.”

 -The Reality:

On paper, drama Hellcats looks perfectly compatible out of America’s Next Top Model, with this tale of college cheerleaders of potential interest to the target young female audience. Plus, the lead-in support form Top Model will certainly not hurt. But nothing the network has tried out of Tyra Banks and company has worked in recent years (think The Beautiful Life, High Society, Fly Girls and Stylista). And the competition (ABC’s Modern Family and CBS’ Criminal Minds, in particular) is fierce. As pretty as this looks, finding an audience could be an uphill battle for Hellcats.

-Chance of Survival for Hellcats (Based on a scale of 1-1 to 10-1): 8-1

-Did You Know?:

Scripted TV series focused models have never been successful. And this goes back to drama Paper Dolls in 1984, followed by 1989 sitcom Living Dolls (a spin-off from Who’s the Boss? with Waltons Mama Michael Learned), 1994 Melrose Place spin-off Model’s Inc. and fall 2009 clinker The Beautiful Life.


Thursday 8 p.m.

-The Premise: Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III) plays a spy and assassin for a top U.S. government agency who will stop at nothing to bring their powerful operation to an end. The cast includes Melinda Clarke, Lyndsy Fonseca, Ashton Holmes, Tiffany Hines, Aaron Stanford and Shane West.

-Lead-in: The Vampire Diaries

-Competition: Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), CSI (CBS), The Office (NBC) and Outsourced (NBC), Fringe (Fox)

-Who Was on the Panel: Maggie Q, Shane West; and executive producers Craig Silverstein and McG.

-The Scoop:

Maggie Q on the action genre: “When I was living and working in Asia, at the time Jackie was looking for these new young people to star in movies that he was producing, not starring in, but producing. So his team of guys trained me when I was very young in different disciplines. They sort of — they broke me basically and sort of molded me. They gave me my introduction. I wouldn’t say they taught me everything at all because I have to tell you, once I got to Hollywood, I feel like that’s when I really got into the action genre because I felt like the people here — we really got the time to focus on things when we’re booked for a project. They were very serious. They’re like, “Listen, we’re going to train you from the ground up. This is how we’re going to make you real.” So it does become very real. You can’t fake this stuff. You either know it, or you don’t.”