The CW upfront report: How many superheroes are too many?

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Supergirl makes sense on the younger-skewing network. But will too many caped crusaders and mismatched romantic comedies take a toll?

When "Supergirl" debuted on CBS last year, observers noted that it was an odd fit for the older-skewing network. So the news that the superhero series is moving to the CW makes perfect sense, for a lot of reasons. It is certainly compatible with the network’s already superhero-heavy lineup ("Arrow," "The Flash" and "DC’s Legends of Tomorrow"). The expectations from a traditional ratings standpoint will be lower. And keeping "Supergirl intact in the Monday 8 p.m. hour (where it did beat competing "Gotham" on Fox this season) will give the network a stronger start for the week than "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which formerly occupied that time slot but now shifts to Friday at 9 p.m. (out of "The Vampire Diaries").

Read: CBS focuses on comedies next season

Beyond that, The CW in fall 2016 won’t look much different than it did last season. It will be introducing just a handful of new scripted hours: Romantic comedy "No Tomorrow" (out of "The Flash" on Tuesday) and drama "Frequency" (out of "Arrow") on Wednesday. Each of the network’s five nights will feature changes, but mostly just in terms of time slots (including moving veteran "Supernatural" to 9 p.m. Thursday out of "DC’s Legends of Tomorrow").  

Read: NBC announces only three new series for fall 2016

A third new drama, "Riverdale," based on the characters from the Archie comic books, will launch in midseason. (Don’t be fooled. … This looks nothing like carefree Archie and company from yesteryear).  And there will be four dramas returning in midseason: "iZombie," also based on the DC Comics brand, "The Originals," "The 100" and "Reign."

Read: ABC unveils aggressive fall lineup with five new shows

See the grid below for descriptions of the new shows and air times. 

As expected, "Supergirl" was a focal point at The CW’s upfront presentation to advertisers and the media community in New York City (as it was on CBS last year). "We do superhero shows better than anyone else," boasted ecstatic CW President Mark Pedowitz. "We are more relevant and competitive than ever before. We have the highest quality shows of any broadcaster. And we have fulfilled our mission as a broadcaster to appeal to a broader demographic."

While I could challenge Pedowitz on those latter three proclamations, I do agree on the superhero point. The CW does indeed house the best of the genre. It found a theme, and it has capitalized on it. But, at some point, enough has to be enough. There is risk in over-relying on a specific category, and The CW would be wise to make "Supergirl" the final series based on a DC Comics character. This is now four hours (out of 10) of the fall lineup dedicated to DC heroes. That is too much.

Read: Fox summons "The Exorcist" to dispel the ghost of "Idol" in Fall 2016

What is odd about The CW’s fall schedule, meanwhile, is the haphazard scheduling. Instead of keeping "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" paired with "Jane the Virgin" on Monday, The CW is hoping "Supergirl" on Monday and "The Vampire Dairies" on Friday will provide the necessary lead-in support to give both a boost. But both combinations do not seem compatible. And given the nonexistent ratings for "Jane" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" to begin with, why even introduce a third romantic comedy that we all know will produce no ratings?

Under the guidance of Mark Pedowitz, The CW has indeed found a superhero niche. But now it is time for the next successful genre on the network, and neither of the new fall series — or "Riverdale" — looks like they will stick.

Below is the CW primetime schedule this fall (with the new series in bold), followed by the new fall series descriptions:

8:00 p.m. "Supergirl" (new network)
9:00 p.m. "Jane the Virgin"
8:00 p.m. "The Flash"
9:00 p.m. "No Tomorrow"

8:00 p.m. "Arrow"
9:00 p.m. "Frequency"

8:00 p.m. "D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow"
9:00 p.m.  "Supernatural" (new night)

8:00 p.m. "The Vampire Diaries"
9:00 p.m. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (new night)

New Program Descriptions

Studio: Warner Bros. Television / Lin Pictures
Team: Jeremy Carver, Toby Emmerich, John Rickard, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz
Based on the 2000 movie of the same name, "Frequency" follows a young detective who discovers she can communicate with her now-dead father 20 years in the past via ham radio.
Cast: Riley Smith ("Nashville," "True Blood"); Mekhi Phifer ("ER," "8 Mile"); Peyton List ("The Flash," "Mad Men"); Lenny Jacobson ("Nurse Jackie"); Anthony Ruivivar ("Third Watch"); Devin Kelley ("Chernobyl Diaries"); Daniel Bonjour ("The Walking Dead")

"No Tomorrow"
Studio: CBS Television Studios in association with Electus
Team: Ben Silverman, Maggie Friedman
Logline: When a risk-averse, straight arrow, female procurement manager at an Amazon-like distribution center falls in love with a freewheeling man who lives life to the fullest because he believes the apocalypse is imminent, they embark on a quest together to fulfill their individual bucket lists.
Cast: Tori Anderson ("Open Heart"); Josh Sasse ("Galavant"); Sarayu Blue, ("The Real O’Neals"); Amy Pietz ("The Nine Lives of Chloe King"); Jesse Rath ("Defiance"); Jonathan Langdon ("Special Correspondents")

"Riverdale" (midseason)
Studio: Warner Bros. Television / Berlanti Productions
Team: Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater
Logline: Set in present day and based on the iconic Archie Comics characters, "Riverdale" follows Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small-town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.
Cast: Lili Reinhart ("Surviving Jack"); Cole Sprouse ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"); Ashleigh Murray; Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills, 90210"); KJ Apa ("Shortland Street"); Madelaine Petsch; Camila Mendes; Marisol Nichols ("GCB"); Mädchen Amick ("Twin Peaks")


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