1. Introduction (What is the CW?)
2. The History of the CW
4. Market Share, Ratings and Appeal Group
5. Web Presentation
1. Introduction (What is the CW?)
The term crisis is drastic but could be applied in the context of the current American television market. Due to the waste amount of online material spread all over the world wide web for free, online recording and TIVO, the financially necessary advertisement business is shrinking. The major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) have a variety of shows that produce week after week solid ratings and high market shares but the young network The CW is struggling. This network launched at the beginning of the 2006-2007 television season and now after approximately three years it is time to take a closer look whether it has been a success or not. In the beginning The CW claimed to become the fifth major network in the US – let's check whether it was a prophecy or false hope. In order to accomplish that I will provide a brief historical overview of the network, the shows, its market placement and the website.
The CW marked its formal launch date on Wednesday, September 20, 2006, with a 2-hour season premiere of America's Next Top Model. The CW is a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Time Warner's Warner Bros.. It can be called the successor to The WB and UPN. Both launched in January 1995.1 They started at the same moment as the Fox network gained regular viewers. Both networks managed to air several series that became hits. The most popular ones are for instance: UPN's Star Trek: Voyager and Veronica Mars, and WB's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, Dawson's Creek, 7th Heaven, Charmed, and Smallville.2 Both networks were unable to reach a wide audience. Neither one of them had the success like Fox. The two networks lost a combined $2 billion3. For obvious reasons the executives of CBS and Warner announced on January 24, 20064 their merger. Instead of continuing their financially struggling networks they would both shut down and combine resources to form a new broadcast network. “CBS and Warner Bros. hoped that combining their networks' schedules and station lineups would strengthen The CW into a fifth 'major' broadcast network.”5
The CW presents shows that appeals to women 18 to 34-years-old. The prime time slot is filled with shows that target mainly the wooed appeal group.
There is 'One Tree Hill' which is in its 7th season and made the change from a teen to a twen show. Successful was the four-year-jump into the future. This phenomena can be compared to the event that ABC did with its prestigious 'Desperate Housewives'. Former glory and ratings were revived with a five-year-jump after season 4. In September 2003 OTH aired on The WB staring Gilmore Girls' Chad Michael Murray. The concept to use a familiar and well-known face from a show and create a new hit was proven to be the right move for The WB. The ratings are still above the CW's average.6
Another popular show appealing to female teenager is 'Gossip Girl'. It is a returning series since fall 2007. It is based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. “This drama gives viewers a peek into the world of privileged teenagers in an elite private school in New York City. The story is written by The O.C.'s Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, and directed by Mark Piznarski who has worked on series like Everwood and Veronica Mars.“7 The show is set in New York City, especially the upper east side. The main protagonist is Serena van der Woodson played by Blake Lively. The pilot starts with Serena's mysterious return to Manhattan. Blair Waldorf acts as the antidote to Serena. Their looks differ enormously. On the one side there is the gorgeous blonde and on the other is the elegant brunette. They are involved in a circle of exclusivity, money, and scandals. The characters vary and the cast plays impressively. In the pilot a Cinderella story is introduced but in this case there is a male Cinderella. Dan Humphrey, who has been in love with Serena for years without her noticing him, becomes Serena's object of interest. The clash of cultures is represented through the Humphrey kids from Brooklyn studying at the private school Constance.
1 Vgl.:It's No Gossip, Ratings Slip Threatens CW Network, Wall Street Journal May 16, 2008 and vgl.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_cw, January 20th 2010.
2 Vgl.: Ebd.
3 It's No Gossip, Ratings Slip Threatens CW Network, Wall Street Journal May 16, 2008.
5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_cw, January 20th 2010.
6 Idesheim, Rainer: http://www.serienjunkies.de/news/quoten-one-26134.html, April 27th 2010.
7 http://sharetv.org/shows/gossip_girl , last visit: 8th January 2010.