Struggling CW network offers big schedule revamp

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By DAVID BAUDER, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The young CW network is hoping to turn around a year of disappointing ratings by making changes this fall on each of the five nights it broadcasts.

The network said Thursday that its new series include a modern take on "Beauty and the Beast," an action drama "Arrow" based on comic book characters and "The Carrie Diaries," a prequel to "Sex and the City" about Carrie Bradshaw's life in the 1980s.

"The Carrie Diaries" begins on Monday nights in January after the final season of "Gossip Girl" finishes.

The Nielsen Co. says the CW saw its ratings slip by 17 percent this season and 20 percent among the young women who make up its target audience.

But the CW executives argued that traditional television ratings don't do them justice, that many of their young viewers are watching their programming through nontraditional means, like video streams and DVR playbacks.

"The audiences are watching shows in a very different way," said Mark Pedowitz, the network president. To that end, the CW said it is working on developing a separate measurement system to show advertisers that their commercials are making more of an impact than would be expected just by seeing the television ratings.

Still, the CW dramatically shuffled its schedule. The network will move the soapy "90210" from Tuesdays to Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The sophomore drama "Hart of Dixie" switches from Monday to Tuesday, preceding a new series, "Emily Owens, M.D.," about a young doctor who finds her hospital much like high school.

"Arrow" will air on Wednesdays, followed by the returning drama "Supernatural," which moves from Friday nights.

"The Vampire Diaries" remains on Thursday, followed by the new "Beauty and the Beast," where a female detective finds a handsome doctor who's a beast with superpowers who saves lives in his spare time.

"America's Next Top Model" moves to Friday nights, joining the drama "Nikita."

The CW does not program for the weekends. The network says it is moving toward less serial programming, emphasizing series where viewers don't feel they've lost the story line if they miss a week or two, and is trying to minimize the interruptions that reruns cause for serials.

The CW will also start its new season in October, a few weeks after other broadcast networks launch new series. In the past, the CW has tried to launch before the other networks but found too many viewers abandoned their shows to check out other networks' premieres, Pedowitz said.

Also on Thursday, the USA Network touted several new projects it has in various stages of development, including productions by Kelsey Grammer, Dick Wolf and Mark Burnett.

Grammer, the ex-"Frasier" actor with an active production company, is making the comedy "The Dicicco Brothers," about a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose unrefined family holds him back. Wolf, maker of the "Law & Order" series, is developing a drama about an insurance investigator who divorces his wife and marries a man. Burnett, the busy "Survivor" producer, is making "Romancing the Globe," a globe-trotting, looking-for-love reality show.

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