The CW is coming off its most watched season in three years, but its schedule for the 2014–2015 season is a bit surprising — both in light of the moves the network is making and the ones they aren’t.
The Originals is shifting from Tuesdays at 8 p.m. to Mondays at 8 p.m., where it will lead into Jane the Virgin, The CW’s new hour-long dramedy. The Vampire Diaries spin-off previously teed off the network’s Tuesday nights of paranormal activity, partnered with the long-running Supernatural. While the Originals–Jane pairing is less of an obvious fit, it does speak to the network’s faith in The Originals to have it serve as the lead in for a freshman series.
CW President Mark Pedowitz also noted in a conference call with members of the press on Thursday shortly after the 2014–2015 schedule was revealed that the audiences could be quite similar despite the show’s obvious genre differences. “[The Originals] skews more female than male so it’s a good lead-in for Jane,” he pointed out.
The Originals’ shift aside, the most notable thing about The CW’s new schedule is the lack of movement. Mainstays Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, and Arrow and soon-to-be sophomore series The 100 and Reign are all staying in their preexisting time slots.
Many might’ve expected The 100 to make way for The Flash, a spin-off of third-year superhero saga Arrow, on Wednesday nights. Instead, The Flash will air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. before Supernatural. It’s the same time slot The CW used to separate another spin-off, The Originals, from its mothership, The Vampire Diaries during the 2013–2014 season, with the idea being that the audience from the flagship series will carry over and boost another night’s lineup.
When asked by a member of the press if The Flash’s timeslot was decided upon after The CW execs were able to see that ABC bumped fellow superhero series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Tuesdays at 9 p.m. from 8 p.m., Pedowtiz slyly said, “Sometimes it’s good to be opportunistic. It worked out really well that time period opened up… Flash will do very well.”
The replicated Wednesday and Thursday pairings (Arrow and The 100, and The Vampire Diaries and Reign, respectively) clearly indicate that The CW believes in both sophomore series, but also recognizes they need time to develop passionate fan bases and what better place to do so than behind the network’s two biggest shows?
Here are some other noteworthy details:
— Cult hits Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast, which both received unexpected renewals, will premiere in 2015. Pedowitz noted that Beauty and the Beast is a fan favorite and that’s perhaps why it’s returning as opposed to the axed freshman series The Tomorrow People. “The Tomorrow People just didn’t have the same level of social engagement that Beauty and the Beast does,” he said.
— Freshman high-concept series iZombie, based on the DC comic of the same name, and the apocalyptic drama The Messengers will also debut next year.
— The Supernatural spinoff is not dead yet even though it wasn’t picked up for the 2014-2015 season. “We believe there is a real brand for Supernatural and it just didn’t quite get there,” Pedowitz said of the Bloodlines spinoff. “I’ve already spoken to the creator and the studio and they know we want to develop once more for next season.”
— America’s Next Top Model is staying put on Fridays, as is Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which took over for The Carrie Diaries (RIP) at 8 p.m. Pedowitz noted that Whose Line has allowed for “big improvements” for the network in Friday ratings. “We have a couple of ideas about what we’d like to do [on Friday nights]. But Whose Line has given us the opportunity to try things,” he said of potential midseason changes.
The full schedule is at the bottom of the story, and the new shows are now arranged in night-of-the-week order.
3. Jane the Virgin (Mondays at 9 p.m.)
Who’s in it? Gina Rodriguez (The Bold and the Beautiful), Justin Baldoni (The Bold and the Beautiful), Brett Dier (Ravenswood), Andrea Navedo, Yael Grobglas, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil
Who created it? 90210’s Jennie Snyder Urman, who executive produces with Ben Silverman (The Biggest Loser), Gary Pearl (10.5), Jorge Granier (Que el Cielo Me Explique), and Brad Silberling (Reign), who also directed the pilot.
What’s it about? Adapted from a popular Venezuelan telenovela, the show centers around a hardworking, religious young Latina woman who is accidentally artificially inseminated.
First impression? The premise of this show, on the surface, certainly sounded potentially disastrous, not to mention tremendously absurd. But based on the full trailer that debuted at The CW’s upfront presentation, only the latter holds true. In the real world, Jane would probably have sued the doctor who accidentally knocked her up or had an abortion (or both!). But based on a cringeworthy line in the trailer, the dreaded “a” word will not be Jane’s solution. Certainly, the show will spark some interesting conversations along those lines. That said, the chemistry amongst the cast, who play three generations of Latina women, was evident in a mere minutes so I’m not counting this one out just yet. —Jaimie Etkin
5. The Flash (Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
Who’s in it? Grant Gustin (Glee), Candice Patton (The Game), Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order), Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Panabaker (Necessary Roughness), Carlos Valdes (Broadway’s Once), and Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Who created it? Team Arrow executive produces: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Geoff Johns (who wrote the pilot script), and David Nutter (who directed the pilot). Sarah Schechter also serves as executive producer.
What’s it about? Barry Allen, a forensic investigator, is gifted with super-speed after a freak accident involving the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator.
First impression? I’m not a superhero fanatic, but The Flash looks like it’s exactly what those who have been waiting for the Arrow spinoff hoped it would be. Judging from his post-battle facial expressions and charming interactions with the story’s heroine, Gustin looks like an excellent choice for Barry Allen, and that’s a good thing because much of the show’s success (or failure) will really rest on his shoulders. The pilot looks incredibly cinematic (there’s a jaw-dropping scene where he chases a tornado!), so it’ll be interesting to see whether The Flash can maintain that level of special effects on an episodic budget. — Emily Orley
7. The Messengers (Midseason TBD)
Who’s in it? Shantel VanSanten (One Tree Hill), Sofia Black-D’Elia (Skins), JD Pardo (Revolution), Joel Courtney (Super 8), Anna Diop (Everybody Hates Chris), Diogo Morgado (Son of God), and Jon Fletcher
Who created it? Trey Callaway (Revolution) and Basil Iwanyk (The Town) serve as executive producers with Eoghan O’Donnell (Teen Wolf), Kent Kubena (Turistas), and Ava Jamshidi (Slackers) acting as co-executive producers. Stephen Williams (Lost) directed the pilot.
What’s it about? A group of strangers awaken after an object crashes to Earth and discover they’re responsible for stopping an apocalypse.
First impression? (This trailer screened at The CW upfront presentation, but it’s not yet available online. We will add it as soon as it is!) Once I got past the absurdity of Sofia Black-D’Elia (my least favorite part of the U.S. Skins) playing a mom, The Messengers trailer grabbed my attention, though I was admittedly still a bit confused by the premise. This is a little more grown up than The CW’s typical high-school fare, but that has served the network well in the forms of Arrow and The Originals. Its ensemble cast of characters — a preacher, a scientist, a mom, a high schooler, a federal agent, and a televangelist — make for an intriguing combination. —Jaimie Etkin
8. iZombie (Midseason TBD)
Who’s in it? Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), David Anders (Once Upon a Time), Nora Dunn (Entourage), Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Alexandra Krosney
Who created it? Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars) executive produces with his fellow Veronica Mars co-workers: Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Danielle Stokdyk, and Dan Etheridge. Thomas also directed the pilot.
What it’s about? After a med student is turned into a zombie, she gets a job at the coroner’s office in order to have easy access to brains. After feasting, she discovers the ability to re-live the memories of the deceased and puts that knowledge to good use: solving their murders.
First impression? (This trailer screened at The CW upfront presentation, but it’s not yet available online. We will add it as soon as it is!) It’s Veronica Mars meets Warm Bodies and weirdly, it works. iZombie (silly name aside) has all the elements that made the former a hit: a wise-beyond-her-years leading lady (whose quite perfect tonally), voiceover narration, and a crime-solving element. If you can get over the gross out factor of watching Liv sprinkle brains like raw ground meat atop udon noodles, this one might just be worth it. —Jaimie Etkin
8–9 p.m. — The Originals
9–10 p.m. — Jane the Virgin (new)
8–9 p.m. — The Flash (new)
9–10 p.m. — Supernatural
8–9 p.m. — Arrow
9–10 p.m. — The 100
8–9 p.m. — The Vampire Diaries
9–10 p.m. — Reign
8–8:30 p.m. — Whose Line is it Anyway?
8:30–9 p.m. — Whose Line is it Anyway? (encore)
9–10 p.m. — America’s Next Top Model
This post has been updated to change language originally taken from a press release.