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The CW doesn't boast the kind of numbers that the bigger networks do, which sometimes allows its execs to try different things out, whether it's building up a multi-tiered comic book universe or starting up a digital offshoot to curate smaller projects for targeted demographics. The network's latest strategic change will add a new night of programming to its primetime schedules, and starting this fall, The CW will begin airing its original series on Sunday evenings.
Currently, The CW has a more limited scheduling slate than any other big networks, with only two hours of programming per weeknight. Its expansion into Sunday night will keep the two-hour structure intact, bumping the total number of programming hours from ten to twelve. Two hours a week might not sound like the biggest game-changing advancement, but it could lead to the addition of any number of new projects.
If The CW would decide to only utilize 13-episode orders in the future, that could lead to two new dramas each for the fall season, the midseason and the summer season. The number of new originals would get smaller, of course, if The CW wants seasons of 22+ episodes, but that total could also get larger if half-hour projects are thrown into the mix along with hour-long fare. There are any number of ways the network's team could utilize Sunday nights within the schedule, and we're hoping they take some risks.
Here's how The CW's president Mark Pedowitz put it in the announcement.
By expanding to six nights, The CW is now able to give our fans even more of the series they're so passionate about. Broadcasting remains the foundation of our multi-platform approach to bringing our programming to viewers. Over the past seven years, The CW has added more than 80 hours of original scripted programming to its schedule -- now that number can continue to climb, as we grow our broadcast line-up, and continue to add content on every platform.
This news could mean good things for fans of current CW shows, since having new schedule slots to fill takes some of the pressure off of on-the-bubble shows awaiting renewal news, such as the universally acclaimed dramas Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin. As well, two new timeslots would offer two new chances for other DC comics superheroes to take the live-action spotlight in the future. (Alternately, it would allow everyone to avoid postponing one show's season in place of another one.) Of course, The CW could also keep expanding its branding appeal with even more imaginative and exciting shows that aren't related to its current lineup.
Viewers may remember that this isn't the first time The CW has tested the waters on Sunday nights. Back in 2008, when the network was still trying to make waves, execs leased out the Sunday night primetime hours to the production company Media Rights Capital (MRC), which developed the short-lived shows Valentine and Easy Money, among others. The experiment was not very successful, and other shows' repeats soon became the replacements. This time around, though, The CW will have full control over what shows it will bring to Sunday nights, which is far better for audiences.