Comedy? The CW don't need no comedy!

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Comedy? The CW don''t need no comedy!

Post  rottensoilder on Sun 24 May 2009, 21:28


CW president Dawn Ostroff explains why there are zero comedies on the fall schedule and why losing Chad Michael Murray won't hurt One Tree Hill.

NEW YORK CITY--The CW is still The CW. Just because there's a shiny new fall season ahead, it doesn't mean that the network will leapfrog any of the competition to become a major player this season. But it does know what its specialty is--attracting young viewers. CW president of entertainment Dawn Ostroff discusses the decisions to not have any comedies in the lineup, and the future of One Tree Hill without its two stars.

Hey, CW, don't women 18-34 like to have a few laughs once in a while?

Five nights, 10 hours, 10 shows--none of which are comedies. That's next fall's tally for The CW, which announced a new Monday-to-Friday lineup (no Saturday and Sunday shows on CW) containing no half-hour sitcoms. The last of the CW's comedies, Chris Rock's Everybody Hates Chris and The Game, are history.

It's not that CW's target audience--women aged 18-34--lacks a sense of humor, says CW's top programming exec, Dawn Ostroff. It's that the CW has had a few too many disappointments with sitcoms.

"We decided not to develop comedies a few years ago," she told reporters in New York after the CW Upfront presentation to advertising execs Thursday. "We were doing so well with our scripted dramas and our reality shows and honestly, I think we have had a lot of disappointments in comedy. We did several shows like Everybody Hates Chris and Aliens in America, which we were really proud of. We felt they were different--they were about something [and] the writing was wonderful. [But] we just couldn't make a go of it, so we decided to stick with what's working for us now."

Least glamorous CW show is talk of the Upfront

Thanks primarily to Gossip Girl, CW has forged an identity as the network for soap opera-style dramas about wealthy, young, beautiful people. Most of the network's new shows reflect that, particularly the new Melrose Place and The Beautiful Life, producer Ashton Kutcher's series about the New York fashion world.

But the show that generated the most buzz at the Upfront was a midseason drama called Parental Discretion Advised that was not anything like those other shows.

At the post-Upfront news conference, CW's Ostroff described the series as "Juno meets Gilmore Girls." She wasn't referring specifically to a high school student becoming pregnant in the show (there was no evidence of that in the trailer shown to advertisers). Instead, she was describing this show's sensibility-- characters, living in Portland, Ore. (not L.A. or New York), who ordinary people can identify with, living lives regular folks will recognize. It's about a 16-year-old girl--an orphan who spent her life in foster care--who goes in search of her birth parents.

As fun as the over-the-top CW soaps are to watch and twitter about, this was the series that captured the most attention at the Upfront.

One Tree Hill: The show goes on without, you know, those two

CW's top programming exec didn't exactly shed any tears over the exit of Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton from the cast of One Tree Hill. When the show returns next fall, they won't be on it, having decided to stake their careers elsewhere after six seasons.

Programming chief Dawn Ostroff says the show now has an opportunity to "reinvent" itself. "We tried to get them to stay and we would have been thrilled if they'd wanted to," she told reporters. (Editor's note: for the record, amateur footage of Murray posted to YouTube in March caught him saying The CW didn't want to renew his contract because they wanted to save money.)

On the other hand, it's obvious Ostroff doesn't think losing these two will harm the show. Just the opposite: "I think that the show going into its seventh year was very open to sort of reinventing itself," she said. "[Executive producer] Mark Schwahn is excited about thinking of bringing on a few new characters, which is what we're going to do. . . . So we were sad to see them go and grateful for everything that they did for the show, but excited about moving on and seeing who else is going to join the cast."

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