CW Upfront Report: Is Lily Dead or What?

Check out our photo gallery, news briefs and liveblog of the presentation/press conference

By Jennifer Godwin May 21, 2009 5:59 PMTags
Leighton Meester, Jessica Szohr, Taylor Momsen, Blake LivelyBryan Bedder/Getty Images


Here's what you need to know from this morning's CW upfront:

  • The Gossip Girl spinoff remains marginally alive despite not getting a series pickup for fall. CW president Dawn Ostroff says, "It was the toughest year we've ever had, figuring out what to pick up, because [our pilots] were all really, really good. We do have room for another midseason show. We have some reality, and we'll probably have another scripted drama. We're just going to take a beat and see where we are. In all honesty, I think the Gossip Girl spinoff is the show that we would love to be able to find a place for as the season goes on." (There were no similarly encouraging words about Body Politic with Jason Dohring, Brian Austin Green, Minka Kelly and Gabrielle Union.)
  • Reaper, Privileged, The Game and Everybody Hates Chris are confirmed dead.
  • Like we told you yesterday, the CW schedule will be: Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill on Mondays, 90210 and new show Melrose Place on Tuesdays, Top Model and new show The Beautiful Life on Wednesdays, new show Vampire Diaries (can.not.wait.) and Supernatural on Thursdays and Smallville and a Top Model repeat on Fridays.

Read on for our liveblog of the presentation and press conference, including scoop on a 90210-Melrose Place crossover event...


Should you want to dig into the details of the CW's plans for the new season, here are the highlights of the presentation to advertisers and the press conference with us media types...

8:10 a.m.: The CW's big upfront-opening stunt is bringing Ed Westwick in character as Chuck Bass, teenage billionaire CEO of Bass Industries, to come on stage and articulate the merits of the network. There is much squeeing in the audience, including from this entirely biased reporter (I love you, Chuck!). Retwittering his pitch would just ruin the image in your heads, since the speech was full of megacheesy lines (for example: "The CW is a must-buy. I'll bet my ascot on it."), but all in all, not a bad way to start the show.

8:12 a.m.: Oh, this show-business business is cruel, man. Some Photoshop expert worked overtime slotting Matt Lanter and Jessica Lowndes into last year's 90210 graphics, and I think they might have actually dropped Matt Lanter's head on Dustin Milligan's body. Poor guy.

8:16 a.m.: Ostroff explains the network's new image campaign: "TV to Talk About." She suggests that in lieu of ratings, the CW has buzz. "CW transcends TV to become part of the fabric of pop culture," she says. She's not wrong. Buy Vitamin Water. It's what Nate Archibald would do.

8:23 a.m.: And now it's time to unveil the new series. First up? Melrose Place, of course. Apparently Lauren (Stephanie Jacobsen), the med-student hooker, is just getting into high-class prostitution at the time we meet her, so that will certainly be an interesting arc. Ella (Katie Cassidy) looks to be the most dynamic new character by far, while Ashlee Simpson-Wentz's Violet seems almost impossibly sweet. Ooh! Spoiler alert: Sydney (Laura Leighton) has been hooking up with Michael Mancini's (Thomas Calabro) son, David (Shaun Sipos).

Jeff Staab/The CW

8:26 a.m.: Vampire Diaries looks, like, amazing. This is the Dawson's Vampires series we've all been waiting for from the WB CW. (It's even produced by Dawson's creator Kevin Williamson.) And despite the fact it is based on a 15-year-old book series, at heart, Diaries is utterly and totally Twilight: The Series, and that is quite all right with us. The casting of the hot mortal girl and the two vampire brothers appears to be nigh well perfect—among other things, Boone (Ian Somerhalder) finally gets to play a badass. Hang tight for clips...

8:31 a.m.: The Beautiful Life is about models in New York City. Mischa Barton plays the older, wiser and more damaged girl. Sara Paxton is the hot young thing who must reconcile her new fame with her old value system.

8:39 a.m.: The trailer for Parental Discretion Advised looks great. Ostroff later describes it as "Juno meets Gilmore Girls," and that seems just about right. This series will be going at midseason and stars Shiri Appleby as a young birth mother who reconnects with the now-teenage daughter she gave up for adoption.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Imagesfor The CW Network

8:46 a.m.: Tyra Banks gets a laugh by saying the Top Model cycle dedicated to "short girls" is going to be good.

8:49 a.m.: Ostroff says that the CW now has the same amount of original programming as NBC.

8:51 a.m.: And that's all for the presentation. The CW casts all gather onstage and remind us that, if nothing else, the CW is easily the most gorgeous network on television.

9:13 a.m.: Press conference time. As noted above, Ostroff says they're still hoping to do the Gossip Girl spinoff for midseason.

9:14 a.m.: Next year's ninth season of Smallville is not guaranteed to be the last. A further 10th season is entirely possible. Ostroff later says that, ratings-wise, they're hoping Smallville will "do better" than Everybody Hates Chris and The Game in the same time slot.

9:20 a.m.: A crossover between the 90210 and Melrose Place casts is entirely possible. We suggest you check back during November sweeps if that's what you're hoping to see...

9:22 a.m.: When asked about the departure of Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton from One Tree Hill, Ostroff simply says that One Tree Hill was open to reinventing itself in its seventh year, giving Mark Schwahn kudos for the leap-forward idea that reinvigorated the show and saying she was "grateful" to CMM and H.B. for their past contributions to the show.

9:29 a.m.: Regarding the future of Gossip Girl, Ostroff crows about the extraordinary writing skills of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and then spills, "They have figured out a very clever way to keep them all in New York..." She says they've just heard the stories for season three, and it "will be the best season yet."

Now, don't forget to check out our gallery of stills from the new CW shows, including Melrose Place, The Beautiful Life and Vampire Diaries. Just click on the thumbnails below!