One nice thing about a late start? Less reruns.
In what looks to be an effort to close down some of the long mid-season gaps that seem to hurt The CW’s bottom line, the struggling network is holding off most of its fall premieres to October, giving viewers a chance to taste the big networks and grab them while they might be looking for an alternative.
That includes some genre shows including veterans “Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” as well as newcomers “Arrow” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Supernatural” will be one of the earliest starts for The CW, coming the day after “Hart of Dixie” on Oct. 3 as part of its new timeslot on Wednesdays. “Arrow” will join it a week later on Oct. 10, taking on the lead-in role, and either providing a boost to “Supernatural,” or maybe getting a boost from the long-running show itself.
Both “Vampire Diaries” and “Beast” will get their bows the next night on Oct. 11, airing their premieres together. The CW will wrap up its fall premieres Oct. 19 with “Nikita.”
Longer mid-season breaks seemed to create problems for many of The CW’s shows, especially its new fare. The Sarah Michelle Gellar series “Ringer,” for example, averaged a 1.2 rating/2 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. through the end of November. But when it returned nearly two months later, the show had lost 33 percent of its audience, falling to a 0.8/1 (and leading to cancellation).
“Secret Circle” also suffered, earning a 1.4/2 through Nov. 10, but falling 21 percent when it returned in early January to a 1.1/2, and also a spot on The CW’s cancellation block.
The CW is really looking to start attracting more (and younger) viewers, especially after a tough season where returning shows lost 24 percent of their audiences from the year before on average, while new shows finished 18 percent behind the pace freshman programs set just 12 months before. Only Fox did worse with returning shows (losing 24 percent of its audience on average), however they recovered by improving new show audience averages by 18 percent.