Thursday, May 18, 2006

The CW: The initials stand for "Can't Watch"

In case you've been out of the pop culture loop over the past several months, The CW is the unlikely moniker for the new network cobbled together from the wreckage of the two mini-webs, UPN and The WB. The CW's newly announced fall schedule is mostly a patchwork of the better (or maybe just less wretched) programs left behind by each of its predecessors.

Fans of UPN's teetering-on-the-brink-of-extinction teen mystery series Veronica Mars will doubtless be ecstatic to learn that their favorite escaped the merger axe, and will be paired with The WB's Gilmore Girls on Tuesday nights. While it's uncertain whether anyone will be ecstatic, almost everyone will be surprised to learn that the long-running family drama 7th Heaven, which just ended its tenth season with a big, splashy signoff episode, isn't actually signing off at all, but will be resurrected for yet another year. (Two questions: Who watches 7th Heaven? And how can there possibly be enough of them to keep this tepid, flavorless program on the air for so long?)

Also among the survivors are The WB's Smallville and Supernatural (back to back on Thursday nights) and the horny-teenagers sudser One Tree Hill. Residents of trailer parks across America will continue to get their 'rasslin' fix, as UPN's WWE SmackDown! remains on Friday nights.

The CW's Sunday night schedule preserves UPN's paean to ethnic diversity by keeping together the most successful of its comedies targeted to the African American audience: Everybody Loves Chris, All of Us, and Girlfriends. Joining them will be a new Girlfriends spinoff entitled The Game, about the wives and girlfriends of the members of an NFL franchise.

And, since you can't very well have a network called The CW without at least a smattering of C&W, Reba has been picked up for another 13 episodes. Yee-hah.


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