NYC Upfronts: The CW dazzles

MiC guest blogger Helena Shelton of PHD takes us into CW's world of the hot, young and famous as the network debuts its fall lineup.

Yesterday morning, a few thousand of us poured into Madison Square Garden for the 11 a.m. start of the CW fall presentation. The show started with Katy Perry singing ‘Hot n’ Cold’ and it was obvious she was not impressed by the crowd’s low-key response to her singing when she yelled: ‘Is it too early for you to stand on your feet and have some fucking fun?’ Slowly the crowd got up – in our defense it was 11 a.m. – and most of us had been up for hours working after an insanely busy week of upfronts and the ensuing upfront negotiations that follow. Once she made it through another song, the CW presentation got going.

The theme of the day was ‘The CW is TV for Generation D’ (aka digital). It’s a young female-targeted station with programs like Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Smallville and 90210. As a result, the CW does a fantastic job tying TV, celebrities, Twitter, Facebook, social media and mobile with all their content. Only two new dramas were introduced: Nikita and Hellcats. Nikita, a remake of the 90s’ cult hit La Femme Nikita, stars Maggie Q (MI:III) as a rogue assassin whose Alias-esque mission it is to wipe out those in the CIA that killed her boyfriend. Not at all believable, but fun and the crowd seemed to like it. The next drama, Hellcats, is about Marty (Disney regular Aly Michalka – very hot), a pre-law student who loses her scholarship and has to join her college’s competitive cheerleading squad to get it back. This one will probably do well with young women – the crowd loved it.

Two new reality series were also introduced: Plain Jane, where a plain girl gets a makeover and some dating advice and then is sent on a date with the man of her dreams (if only it was that easy). One clip they showed featured a ‘plain’ girl they sent out to a park with a dog to talk to men – for practice, one assumes – and she walks up to a guy and says, ‘Are you single?’ To which he replies ‘Yes. And gay.’ The crowd loved it, giving it lots of laughs and good applause.

The other reality offering, with no clip, was Shedding for the Wedding, a reality show with 10 couples who have to lose weight for their wedding day. Maybe CBS and CW will collaborate by putting CBS’s Mike & Molly on the show once they get engaged. These clips were followed by a review of the entire prime-time schedule featuring most of the lineup’s stars, who spoke to the crowd.

It was one beautiful bunch of people – all the women/girls are tall and thin and the men/boys have slightly messy hair and a five o’clock shadow. Then it was over and everyone began pouring out the door. The CW had no after party.

So, that’s it for another year! This upfront season can be summed up as the year of cop shows and relationship/friends shows and a return to good production and scripted dramas and comedies. It also marked a turnaround from last year’s dismal economy and there was a definite emphasis on the strength of TV as a medium.

I have to be honest: it was fun, my feet are almost back to normal and the shopping was great! Oh, and yes, the many parties, dinners and drinks were tons of fun as well.