The CW is the newest network to join the primetime fray, although its lineup may seem familiar. This is because The CW is a merger of UPN and The WB. The name comes from the companies involved. CBS (who owned UPN) and Warner Bros. each own a 50% share of the new network. The consolidation of UPN and The WB has resulted in a large number of shows being cancelled. The WB's Everwood, Charmed, and Blue Collar TV, along with five of the eight African-American comedies UPN aired (One On One, Half & Half, Eve, Cuts, and Love Inc.), did not make the cut. However, two fan favorites from The WB, Reba and 7th Heaven, both were given last-minute reprieves. Reba will air in midseason. 7th Heaven, which aired its "series finale" in May, is returning in the fall. With a slate that features the best of the networks that preceded it, will The CW be able to make a splash and play with their bigger competitors?
(All times are Eastern. New shows are in bold.)
8-9 p.m.: 7th Heaven
9-10 p.m.: Runaway
From The CW's Press Release:
9:00-10:00 P.M. RUNAWAY (NEW DRAMA) The Raders look like a normal middle-class American family, with a dad, Paul Rader, his lovely wife Lily, teenagers Henry and Hannah and 8-year-old Tommy. Those are their real names, but as they struggle to blend into a new life in Bridgewater, Iowa, they are all using secret identities. This family is on the run, hiding from the legal system that unjustly accused Paul Radar of a terrible and violent crime. Adding to the danger, the real killer is now threatening the lives of the Rader children. As Paul works to protect his loved ones and uncover the evidence that will clear him, he lives with the daily fear that someone will accidentally reveal the family's dark secret in RUNAWAY, The CW's new one-hour drama. RUNAWAY stars Donnie Wahlberg as Paul Rader, Leslie Hope as Lily Rader, Dustin Milligan as Henry Rader, Sarah Ramos as Hannah Rader, Nathan Gamble as Tommy Rader, Susan Floyd as Gina Bennett, Karen LeBlanc as Angela Huntley. RUNAWAY is from Sony Pictures Television, Darren Star Productions and Golly Inc. with executive producers Darren Star (Sex and the City, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210) and Ed Zuckerman (Law & Order), creator/co-executive producer Chad Hodge and co-executive producer Susie Fitzgerald.
My Thoughts: It's rare for a show to air a series finale then suddenly come back the next season. You have to go back to the 1980s and Magnum, P.I. for a comparable example to what happened to 7th Heaven. Many who did not watch the show are probably wondering why it was resurrected. Quite simply, it had too many viewers for it to disappear. The show was The WB's biggest overall draw last season with an average of 5.66 million viewers each week. The "series finale" drew more than 7 million viewers when it aired. Even if it is reportedly an expensive proposition for The CW, this new network needs shows like 7th Heaven to help it through its inaugural season. This is probably also the reason why The CW decided to use 7th Heaven as the lead-in for Runaway, one of only two new shows The CW will be airing this fall. The show has an interesting, high-concept premise and is certainly an interesting companion for 7th Heaven.