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TelevisionWeek is supplementing its wall-to-wall news coverage of this year’s upfront TV advertising market with a staff blog bringing readers all the sights, sounds and flavors of the network presentations and parties.

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CW's Big Surprise

May 18, 2007 1:31 AM

Live at the Upfronts

“Just keep moving! Put away your IDs!” shouts the guard.

Yes, of course, put away your IDs! No, you don’t need to check-in. C’mon, this The CW’s upfront, any hobo can go. If you printed out your confirmation email, or made a copy of somebody else’s or, hell, just waved a white piece of paper, that’s about all you needed to get into Madison Square Garden and see the network’s presentation to ad executives.

Inside, the Pussycat Dolls kicked things off with a performance of “Don’t Cha.” Everybody slags on the PCDs, mocks them for looking like, as one TVWeek staffer put it, “post-op trannies.” Everyone rolls their eyes at their CW reality show and simple pop songs. But you would think Rupert Murdoch was on stage announcing plans to cut his advertising rates 75 percent across his media empire as intensely as the Madison Avenue crowd watched those six girls dance.

The CW upfront was all about energy. High energy and pimping 18 to 34 demographics. The big surprise, however, was that the CW’s new shows looked pretty darn good (at least from the clips). Sitcom “Aliens in America” had a quick, witty “Malcolm In the Middle” vibe, but with more sweetness than you’d expect. “Reaper” was very Kevin Smith, mixing pop-culture slackers and the supernatural. The lazily titled “Online Nation” drew laughs for its user-generated clips. The mother-daughter beauty contest competitors in reality series “Crowned” seemed like actors in a Christopher Guest mockumentary.

Curiously, the least impressive show was The CW’s tentpole, “Gossip Girl,” which felt like a cookie cutter “The O.C.” in an Upper East Side setting, where impossibly snooty girls use excessively proper grammar.

At the conclusion of the show, a Pussycat Doll sung a new CW theme song, “Get Into It.” This is such a throwback to the upfront bygone days when the Big Three each had their own theme songs, that it’s almost retro-cool. The song, however, sent ad executives streaming for the exits, but that was also likely due to eagerness to avoid the cab line outside.

Oh, and everybody who went got a complimentary vomity-green CW tote bag that smelled like an inflatable life raft.

E-mail James Hibberd

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