As the L’il 5th to the Big Four TV networks, The CW has the smallest slate of new shows for the fall season: the new “Melrose Place,” supernatural teen romance “The Vampire Diaries,” and the Ashton Kutcher-produced model melodrama “The Beautiful Life: TBL.”
The network wisely used Tuesday (Sept. 8) night’s premieres of “Melrose” and the new season of “90210” to repeatedly plug its new lineup … Er, some of its new lineup. Okay, actually just “Vampire Diaries.”
The CW has actually done little to promote “The Beautiful Life.” Despite the show’s premiere next Wednesday (9/16), critics have yet to receive a full episode to review. This is pretty rare; networks will at least send out screeners with temporary music, titles, sound and other unfinished bits in order to get shows in the hands of critics. Prior to summer press tour in July, media was provided only with twenty-five minutes of scenes. This often indicates the show’s being recast or the pilot being re-shot, but in the case of “TBL,” there was no recasting and no pilot to re-shoot. Just the scenes.
Initial shooting for “TBL” was delayed a week in July, though reportedly not due to co-star Mischa Barton’s much publicized hospitalization. No, supposedly the sets just weren’t ready.
During last night’s two-hour “Top Model” season premiere, seemingly a good time to push a show about models — especially one that’s going to occupy the time slot following “ANTM” starting next week — The CW ran only three “TBL” promos.
The CW web site front page devotes much more space to Thursday (Sept. 10) night’s “Supernatural” premiere. In terms of online content, both “Melrose” and “Vampire Diaries” have been supported with webisodes, minisites and other exclusive content. “The Beautiful Life” has little but a hastily thrown together blog site which supposedly covers fashion in the show’s fictional world. It features only three posts, all of which are from Aug. 26. The comments on the blog — also all posted on August 26 — are hilariously fake busywork by interns or publicists. My comment is awaiting moderation.
But the most telling indicator of lack of interest among The CW demos is the number of Facebook fans for the new shows’ pages. “Vampire Diaries”: 67,726. “Melrose Place”: 61,470. “The Beautiful Life”: a paltry 7,399.
Even better: The link to “TBL” on Facebook on the cwtv.com page for the show doesn’t work. So either no one at the network has noticed, they don’t care enough to correct the link or they haven’t bothered to ask why “TBL” has so few Facebook fans.
If the ratings are proportionate to the Facebook numbers, a mere 276,000 viewers will tune in for “The Beautiful Life” premiere. (Oh, I know it’ll have more … for whatever reason …)
The biggest push for “TBL” so far has been a poster campaign that got some attention for its full nude but conveniently black-barred photos of the stars, including kiddie programmin alums Corbin Bleu and Sara Paxton. The buzz on these petered out pretty quick. For the past several weeks, you couldn’t turn a corner in LA without seeing a “Melrose” or “Vampire Diaries” billboard. The “TBL” posters (no billboards) are rare by comparison.
“Melrose Place” is just dreadful yet the net pumped up the promos for it. How bad could “TBL” be? What’s up, CW? Given up on this one before it’s begun?
— More of Eric Almendral’s media musings can be found at ericonmedia