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Upfronts 2011: Buffy Returns Home

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 19, 2011 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 19, 2011 |

And today, the major hooplah of Upfronts Week comes to an end with the CW announcing its schedule. Why is the CW still considered a “major” network? Because it broadcast over the air. That’s it. Most people you know don’t watch anything on the network and it’s not just because most people you know aren’t the target demographic. It’s because most of the stuff on the CW is fluff.

Let’s get this over with.

Mondays. “Gossip Girl” moves to a new time, leading off at 8, and the CW will try to use this to launch the new “Hart of Dixie” at 9. “Hart of Dixie” is Josh Schwartz’s latest show, which is probably why it’s been paired up with “Gossip Girl.” Because otherwise, it doesn’t share much with its lead-in aside from a potential for bitchyness. It’s about a top-of-her-class med student who winds up Doc Hollywooding it, working for a rural practice in Alabama instead of becoming a big city cardio-thoracic surgeon. It stars Rachel Bilson, who was adorable on “The O.C.,” but really only pulled things off in the seasons when it was more comedy and snark and less drama. This is probably going to be more “drama,” and I don’t think it’s going to end well. I’d share some video clips with you, but I’m not going to. Because I don’t know what crappy software the CW is using for its embedded video, but I couldn’t get the videos to play. So f*ck it, I’m making a purely blind judgment — “Hart of Dixie” will be a turd.

Tuesdays. “90210” gets a new night and, again, the CW will try to use one of its “hits” to launch a new show, “Ringer,” Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to TV. Gellar almost made it to a real network, as the show was originally pitched to and developed for CBS. But the Eye passed on it despite being “really excited about developing the show” and despite it testing and screening well because of a claimed lack of space on the CBS schedule. And so Gellar is forced back into the dregs of the broadcast networks. The show’s premise is this: Gellar’s character is a recovering alcoholic who witnesses a mob hit and goes on the run. She meets up with her rich twin sister and, when the sister goes missing, assumes her identity. Oooookaaaaay. It also stars Nestor Carbonell’s eyeliner.

Wednesdays. Here, the CW flips things around, putting a new show at 8, “H8R,” and hoping that folks who like “America’s Next Top Model” at 9 will tune in early. The awfully-named “H8R” is a show hosted by the awfully-everything Mario Lopez and will feature celebrities going up against people who hate them. So they’re going to try to win their haters over. Haters. H8R. Get it? …Fuck it.

Thursdays. “The Vampire Diaries” keeps its 8 p.m. slot and leads into another new show, Kevin Williamson’s “The Secret Circle.” As least it makes sense why the CW is pairing this new show up with its lead in — “The Secret Circle” is basically “The Vampire Diaries” with witches. Some chick’s mom dies in a fire so she moves to a small Washington town her mom left many moons ago, and there she discovers a Secret Circle of witches. Not my cup of tea, but it’s a good bet that the show will retain a fair chunk of the “Vampire Diaries” audience, so at least this programming makes some sense.

Fridays. The best gym show ever, “Nikita,” gets moved to 8 and paired up with “Supernatural,” in the same Friday at 9 slot it had last season.

Saturdays. Nada.

Sundays. Zilch.

Midseason Fillers. The final season of “One Tree Hill,” along with new shows “Re-Modeled” and “The Frame.” “Re-Modeled” is an “outrageous new reality series” about a modeling industry veteran trying to bring lots of little modeling agencies together into a big network. This guy “has two missions: to make sure agents in small towns no longer get screwed, and to empower models to take control of their careers and lead healthier lives.” I have one mission — not to ever watch this. What’s “outrageous” about it? Fuck if I know.

“The Frame,” meanwhile, is a reality competition series. I’ll let the press release explain this mess because I can’t possibly do it justice:

What happens when your whole life is reduced to one Frame? There’s only one rule: if you’re out of the Frame, you’re out of the game. Ten teams of two, chosen for their dynamic personalities and their existing deep-rooted relationships, are selected to compete in this wild social experiment. These teams will each live in one Frame - a stripped down version of their home living space - for up to 8 weeks, with the entire world watching their inter-personal soap operas play out atop a highly formatted game. Couples cannot physically see one another, but each “frame” is rigged with plasma screens & communication devices that allow for visual and verbal interaction. The teams will face outrageous challenges, punishments, head-to-head competitions, and eliminations, all while isolated from the outside world. With 24/7 web cams streaming content live, and a bi-weekly television show, audiences will vote for - and have control over - many elements of the show, from rewards to punishments to eliminations. The last couple standing will be America’s favorite pair, and walk away with a cash prize.

…Is it too early for me to start drinking?

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Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.