The CW is going seven days a week and is tinkering with its fall schedule to celebrate.
The youth-skewing network will program the entire week for the first time and is going for a bumper unscripted slate across the weekend as it has originals on Saturday nights for the first time.
The broadcaster is moving a slew of shows to new nights for the upcoming season including new spots for Riverdale, which is being paired with The Flash, Batwoman and Nancy Drew, with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow moving back to the fall after a midseason experiment.
New scripted series Naomi and All American: Homecoming will debut in midseason, while Sunday night, which was a haven for scripted superhero series, is going alternative with new unscripted formats Legends of the Hidden Temple and Killer Camp.
Obviously, last season’s schedule was impacted by Covid-19 with The CW launching its ‘fall’ schedule in January 2021 so the definition of fall and midseason might have blurred as a result of the pandemic.
The 2021/22 season will begin in earnest in mid-October but the pandemic will continue to impact the network’s schedule with truncated episode orders expected across the board.
Mark Pedowitz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The CW Network, said, “This year, as we begin to return to more normalized production schedules, The CW is firing on all cylinders. The CW dares to defy by expanding our primetime schedule to include Saturday night and becoming a full 14 hour, seven-day-a-week broadcast network for the first time in its history, offering more original series on both our linear and digital platforms, providing more opportunities for our advertisers and affiliates.”
THE CW FALL 2021 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-9 PM — LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE
9-10 PM — KILLER CAMP
8-9 PM — All American
9-10 PM — 4400 (New)
8-9 PM — The Flash
9-10 PM — Riverdale
8-9 PM — DC’S Legends of Tomorrow
9-10 PM — Batwoman
8-9 PM — Walker
9-10 PM — Legacies
8-9 PM — Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9-10 PM — Nancy Drew
8-8:30 PM — Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30-9 PM — Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9-9:30 PM — World’s Funniest Animals
9:30-10 PM — World’s Funniest Animals
Sunday nights have previously been the preserve of superhero series such as Batwoman, as well as Charmed, last season, and Batwoman and Supergirl for the 2019/20 season. The network is now going all in on unscripted fare to close out the weekend with a reboot of Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple and a U.S. version of ITV2 reality series Killer Camp.
Pedowitz told Deadline that it went with unscripted programming on Sunday nights because of the pandemic-related knock-on effect. “We went alternative primarily because Covid caused great havoc in production this year so some series were not finishing until June or July so couldn’t be ready for the fourth quarter,” he said.
He admitted that it will see it compete with ABC, which also runs unscripted shows on Sunday nights, but also sees it as a temporary fix. “Some point we’ll come back to scripted programming. At this point in time, it’s just a production issue.”
All American keeps its Monday night slot with the reboot of sci-fi drama 4400 – a property that has long interested Pedowitz – replacing Black Lightning at 9pm.
The Flash keeps its Tuesday night slot and will be paired with another Greg Berlanti series Riverdale, which moves from Wednesdays at 8pm to Tuesdays at 9pm. This is the slot that was previously occupied by Superman & Lois this past season and Arrow the year before that. The network said that the eighth season of The Flash and the sixth season of Riverdale will begin their seasons with special five-episode events that will include a number of superheroes from across the universe appearing in the former.
Berlanti has two nights of series on The CW this fall with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman moving to Wednesday. Batwoman previously aired on Sundays and Legends of Tomorrow is essentially moving up from midseason. Season six of the DC property premiered at the start of May and its fifth season premiered in January 2020, while its previous three seasons were traditional fall players.
The CW is sticking with Walker and Legacies on Thursday nights, while Nancy Drew, which was paired with Riverdale on Wednesdays will move to Friday night at 9pm, alongside Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
The network’s Saturday night plans will start with the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which will kick off on October 2 before moving to regularly scheduled programming featuring hour blocks of Whose Line Is It Anyway, which is moving from Fridays and the second season of World’s Funniest Animals.
Nine series are being kept for midseason including All American: Homecoming and Naomi as well as the fourth season of Charmed, the third season of DC’s Stargirl, season five of Dynasty, season four of In The Dark, the second seasons of Kung Fu and Superman & Lois, and season four of Roswell, New Mexico.
A renewal decision on Republic of Sarah, the Stella Baker-fronted small town drama that launches in June, will be made after its premiere, while its U.S. reboot of BBC format Would I Lie To You, exec produced by The Good Fight’s Robert and Michelle King, is “not ready yet”.
NEW FALL 2021 SERIES
4400 — Over the last century at least, four thousand four hundred people who were overlooked, undervalued, or otherwise marginalized vanished without a trace off the face of the planet. Last night, inexplicably, they were all returned in an instant to Detroit, MI, having not aged a day and with no memory of what happened to them. As the government races to understand the phenomenon, analyze the potential threat, and contain the story, an empathetic social worker (Joseph David-Jones, “Arrow”) and hardened community corrections officer (Ireon Roach, “Candyman”) are among the civil servants called upon to deal with the uncanny refugees. The new partners clash in ideology and approach, but gradually find they have more in common than they thought as they become familiar with those under their care, including: a lawyer and resilient young mother from the early aughts (Brittany Adebumola, “Grand Army”), whose unexpected reunion with her estranged husband (Cory Jeacoma, “Jersey Boys”) and suddenly teenaged daughter is immediately rocky; a WWI Army surgeon fresh from the Harlem Renaissance (TL Thompson, Broadway’s “Straight White Men”); an influential hidden figure from the Mississippi civil rights movement (Jaye Ladymore, “Empire”); a black sheep reverend-scion born to a notable televangelist family in 1990s Chicago (Derrick A. King, “Call Your Mother”); a seemingly shallow but misunderstood D-list reality TV star (newcomer Khailah Johnson) from Miami, circa 2015; and two wildly different unaccompanied teens, a vibrant girl (newcomer Autumn Best) whose bell bottoms give away her 1970s upbringing, and an introspective, prescient boy (Amarr Wooten, “Liv and Maddie”) whose origin remains a mystery. These unwilling time travelers, collectively the 4400, must grapple with their impossible new reality, the fact that they’ve been returned with a few…upgrades, and the increasing likelihood that they were brought back now for a reason they’re only beginning to understand. Based on the original TV series created by Scott Peters and Renee Echevarria, 4400 is from CBS Studios and is executive produced by Ariana Jackson, who wrote the pilot, Sunil Nayar, and Anna Fricke and Laura Terry of Pursued By a Bear.
LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE — This supersized, adult version of LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE is taken out of the studio into a “jungle” and scaled up with tougher challenges and much bigger prizes on the line. It preserves the original Nickelodeon series’ favorite elements including: “Olmec” (the giant talking Mayan head), the“Moat Crossings,” “The Steps of Knowledge,” the “Temple Run,” and of course, the iconic team names: “Purple Parrots,” “Blue Barracudas,” “Orange Iguanas,” “Red Jaguars,” “Silver Snakes” and “Green Monkeys.” Every episode is a hero’s journey through a mysterious jungle. Five teams begin the journey, but only one is “strong enough and smart enough” to enter the ominous Olmec’s Temple, avoid the “dreaded” Temple Guards, retrieve a lost treasure, and return it to its rightful owner. Based on the original game show created by David G. Stanley, Scott A. Stone and Stephen R. Brown, LEGENDS OF THE HIDDEN TEMPLE is produced by Stone & Company Entertainment and Nickelodeon. The series is executive produced by Scott A. Stone and Marcus Fox (“Paradise Run”).
KILLER CAMP — The new U.S. version of KILLER CAMP will return to “Camp Pleasant” as a mix of 13 unlucky American and British campers navigate through new deadly twists and surprises while competing to expose the “killer” among them for a share of the $50,000 cash prize. Each night, one of them will be viciously dispatched by camp handyman Bruce, who’s back with counselor Bobby (comedian Bobby Mair), and a whole host of surprises and hilariously elaborate new murders. Executive produced by Karen Smith and Steph Harris with Ben Wilson as Showrunner, Killer Camp is produced by Tuesday’s Child Television and distributed by Keshet International.
NEW MIDSEASON 2022 SERIES
ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING — From the executive producers of ALL AMERICAN, ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is a young adult sports drama set against the backdrop of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) experience at Bringston University, where Black excellence is a way of life. The series follows Simone (Geffri Maya, “All American”), a young tennis hopeful from Beverly Hills who is trying to fight her way back to great after some time away from the court, and Damon (Peyton Alex Smith, “Legacies”), an elite baseball player from Chicago who is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. After Simone’s aunt Amara Patterson (Kelly Jenrette, “Manhunt”), a journalism teacher and activist, exposes a scandal that threatens to derail the school’s beloved baseball program, new coach Marcus Turner (Cory Hardrict, “The Outpost”) is determined to bring a championship back to Bringston the honest way — with Damon’s help. Damon will adjust to his new normal with fellow baseball player and childhood friend JR (Sylvester Powell, “Five Points”) by his side. Meanwhile, as Simone struggles to find her footing, she will get a little guidance from Thea (Camille Hyde, “Katy Keene”), the super-competitive queen bee of the Bringston tennis team, and Keisha (Netta Walker, “Come as You Are”), the school’s unofficial mayor, who will help Simone learn how to live her best life. As they contend with the high stakes of college sports, Simone and Damon will also navigate the highs, lows, and sexiness of unsupervised early adulthood at a prestigious HBCU. ALL AMERICAN: HOMECOMING is written and executive produced by Nkechi Okoro Carroll, and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, David Madden, and Robbie Rogers. Michael Schultz (“All American,” “Black Lightning”) directed the pilot episode. The series is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
NAOMI — From Oscar® nominee/Emmy® winner Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship (“Arrow”), and starring Kaci Walfall (“Army Wives,” “Power,” “The Lion King” on Broadway) in the title role, the DC drama NAOMI follows the journey of a cool, confident, comic book–loving teenager as she pursues her hidden destiny. When a supernatural event shakes her small hometown of Port Oswego, Naomi sets out to uncover its origins, with a little help from her fiercely loyal best friend Annabelle (Mary-Charles Jones, “Kevin Can Wait”). She also has the support of her adoptive, doting parents, veteran military officer Greg (Barry Watson, “7th Heaven,” “The Loudest Voice”) and linguist Jennifer (Mouzam Makkar, “The Fix”). After an encounter with Zumbado (Cranston Johnson, “Filthy Rich”), the mysterious owner of a used car lot, leaves her shaken, Naomi turns to tattoo shop owner Dee (Alexander Wraith, “Orange Is the New Black”), who becomes her reluctant mentor. While unraveling the mystery of herself, Naomi also navigates her high school friendships with both military kids and local townies, including ex-boyfriend and high school jock Nathan (Daniel Puig, “The System”); Annabelle’s longtime, loyal boyfriend Jacob (Aidan Gemme, “Deliver Us From Evil”); proud “townie” Anthony (Will Meyers, “Bad Education”); and fellow comic book enthusiast Lourdes (newcomer Camila Moreno). As Naomi journeys to the heights of the Multiverse in search of answers, what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes. Based on the characters from DC, NAOMI is written and executive produced by Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship, and executive produced by Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of ARRAY Filmworks. Amanda Marsalis (“Echo Park,” “Queen Sugar”) directed and co-executive produced the pilot episode. The series is from ARRAY Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.