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James Hibberd

The CW Session

January 19, 2007 4:28 PM

“This is a two-paragraph story,' grouses a reporter after CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff leaves the stage.

Ostroff has just finished giving The CW boilerplate answers to TCA critics who, admittedly, also asked The CW boilerplate questions. What mistakes did you make launching the network? (We didn’t. What mistakes?). Why didn’t the network offer their shows online earlier? (We were too busy launching a whole damn network, hello…). Will you dump the Monday night comedy block next fall? (Of course not, it’s a huge success, didn’t you know?). When will you retire “Gilmore Girls'? (Not yet, we love the show).

Ostroff says the network is gaining momentum. To ram it home, the word “momentum' appears on the screen behind her. It’s true, carryover shows from UPN and WB have during the past month or so hit series highs on the new network.

Still, the network needs to add new shows of its own. The other day over lunch, one production company representative complained The CW is completely disorganized. “One part doesn’t know what the other parts are doing,' the representative said. From a media perspective, The CW is aided by having The Two Pauls running their corporate PR, McGuire and Hewitt, who put the best spin on their network while still shooting straight.

Among the The CW’s list of announcements, Ostroff has renewed the low-rated (even by CW standards) sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris.' Ostroff urges critics to give the show another chance, noting that it dropped out of TVWeek’s Critics Poll this month. Later, I ask Ostroff if she’s not just keeping it going just long enough to acquire enough episodes for syndication and she claims she renewed it due to the quality of the show.

A confession: The Chris Rock comedy series is also the subject of the most unfortunate typo in my journalism career. A few months ago, in an online ratings story, I referred to the series as “Everybody Hates Christ.' Within a minute of publishing, the emails came pouring in. Most were amused, noting The CW must truly be getting desperate for attention, while others were highly offended. I ran to our web editor’s desk, frantic, yelling “Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!'

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