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As Production Resumes on a Smattering of Projects, The CW Delays Next Season into 2021

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 14, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 14, 2020 |


I figured that after they bumped the upcoming season of Amazing Race into the fall — likely to replace Survivor on the fall schedule — that we’d soon start to see delays in the 2020-2021 television season. I did not, however, expect a network to push its entire fall schedule all the way back to 2021, if only because it means missing out on lucrative fourth-quarter advertising. That, however, is exactly what The CW has done, pushing the official launch of its new season until January 2021. It will, however, fill the void in the fall by rerunning a few series it gained the rights to (Swamp Thing, Tell Me a Story, Coroner, Dead Pixels), a couple of reality shows (including Whose Line Is It, Anyway?), and the final seven episodes of Supernatural.

Expect to see this strategy play out on other networks (and streaming services), as well: Gaining the licensing rights to international series or shows that aired on other networks with fewer viewers. Take, for instance, NBC, which has bought the rights to the Canadian medical drama, Transplant. No date for its debut has been set, but don’t be surprised if its 13-episode first season fills the spot in the schedule currently held by New Amsterdam, which may not resume production until the fall (or later). How will This Is Us resume production with all that hugging? Are tears infectious?

Anyway, all of this explains by Tom Lesinski, CEO of leading in-theater advertising firm National CineMedia, expects a “rebirth” of movies in the fourth quarter. “The television business is going to be in rerun mode and news mode for a long time, while movies continue to be fresh,” he said.

Some of you may be saying, “There’s no way! People aren’t going to return to the movies that quickly!” To those, I would point to Wisconsin bars, which re-opened yesterday after the Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s stay-at-home order.

People will do whatever they’re allowed to do, whether it kills them or not.

Meanwhile, production is starting to resume on some projects, although not yet in America. The Matrix 4 is eyeing early July to resume production in Berlin, Germany. The Avatar sequel and the Lord of the Rings series are expected to resume soon in New Zealand; starting tomorrow, Iceland is giving a greenlight to some productions; and next month, the BBC is resuming production on Top Gear and EastEnders.

Finally, I assumed that wealthy people — namely actors and directors, etc. — who could afford to sit all this out until a vaccine arrived would do just that, meaning that television and movie productions would not continue for at least the rest of 2020. Dan, however, suggested on this week’s Podjiba podcast that there are richer people than Nathan Fillion, who will enforce contracts to make Hollywood return to work. I guess we’ll find out. But, like, if they can make Keanu fly to Germany to resume production on The Matrix, I guess they can do anything. That said, if someone tries to force Jonathan Banks back to work on the final season of Better Call Saul before it is completely safe to do so, there will be hell to pay! PROTECT THAT MAN AT ALL COSTS.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Warner Brothers