Witches, ringers and H8Rs: The CW

Shelton's last day at the upfronts finds her liking Rachel Bilson's new show and seeing Snooki get her what-for.

The walk to the CW presentation this morning was amazing: no rain! It was held at the Lincoln Centre and there seemed to be a lot of confusion with seating and general organization. This was the only show-and-tell that did not begin on time.

The presentation was high energy for any time of day but particularly for 11 a.m. CW is the young women’s network, #1 against 18- to 34-year-olds, and the show began with a loud performance by LMFAO. They had catchy phrases for selling their programs across multiple platforms like ‘shopkick,’ ‘swingers’ and ‘CWingo.’ These guys appeared to be the most innovative and comfortable with mobile, streaming and social.

The CW introduced three new dramas and one new reality show for fall.

Heart of Dixie, from the producers of The OC and Gossip Girls, stars Rachel Bilson and follows a young med-school grad who wanted to be a doctor in NYC but instead ends up working in a small town in Alabama. The premise looked good and I even found myself liking it. The applause was good but some could not relate to Rachel Bilson as the main character.

Ringer was described as sophisticated, sexy and mysterious. This is a more serious and grown-up drama than we are used to seeing from the CW. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ringer is about a woman who adopts her twin sister’s identity after she disappears on a boat. She soon finds out that her sister’s life was not what it appeared to be.

Following Vampire Diaries on Thursday at 9 is new drama about witches called The Secret Circle. Produced by Vampire Diaries producer Kevin Williamson, the story comes from the same writer, author L.J. Smith. It’s about a young girl who moves back to the small town her mother came from, after her death, and finds out – tada! – she and most of her new friends are witches. The applause was good, the show will appeal to the target and the cast on stage was very impressive!

Finally, there’s the net’s new reality show – as it turns out, there are more ways to do reality that we haven’t thought of yet! Called H8R, it features regular people who really hate a particular celebrity and get the chance to tell them what they think. The clips featured Snooki from Jersey Shore and Kim Kardashian getting told ‘the truth,’ but the celebrities also manage to convince the H8Rs that they are not the same people they appear to be in the press.

Add to these new shows for the mid-season Remodeled and The Frame (both reality) and that was the CW upfront.

The 2011 upfronts are over, now it is time for Canadian broadcasters to make decisions on what they want to buy and where it will fit on their schedules.

As I was leaving with Kim Dougherty from OMD, she summed it up: comedies are back and they are better than ever! Then she smiled, and whipped out a comparative graph she typed up at 1:30 a.m. (really!) and reminded me that, in the end, the success of all the shows we saw boils down to each one’s time slot, lead-in and competition.

Helena Shelton is EVP trading and accountability at PHD Canada. She has been blogging for MiC from the NYC Upfronts since 2008.

Related stories: Helena’s 2011 upfront blogs: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3.