CW Upfronts: Sarah Michelle Gellar And Rachel Bilson Return To Network TV
The CW is sticking to its guns. With a combined focus on supernatural-themed series and the younger female demographic, the network announced a host of new shows at its upfront presentation on Thursday morning, while also pumping up the network TV return of two stars: former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and “The OC’s” Rachel Bilson.
CW will air the new Gellar vehicle, “The Ringer,” on Tuesday nights, following the reboot of “90210,” which was renewed for a fourth season.
According to press notes, “The Ringer” follows a woman on the run, played by Gellar, who assumes her wealthier sister’s identity, but soon discovers that her sister’s life is just as dangerous as her own. CBS was originally attached to the series, but network executives thought it was a better fit for its sister network, the CW.
“Ringer” will be a return to Tuesday nights for Gellar, who previously starred in the WB’s cult classic “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” which aired that same evening from 1997 to 2003.
“Buffy” catapulted Gellar to worldwide fandom and success, though she has struggled to find a similar audience for other projects in recent years. In 2009, she was attached to the HBO family comedy, “The Wonderful Maladys,” about a group of eccentric geniuses a la “The Royal Tenenbaums,” but that pilot never took off.
Rachel Bilson’s new drama, “Hart of Dixie,” will also get a fall premiere on the CW network. In “Dixie,” Bilson stars as Doctor Zoe Hart, a “sophisticated New York City woman” who heads to a small southern town to practice medicine. Bilson’s character will likely have a smooth transition into southern life with no cultural misunderstandings whatsoever. (Not really.)
“Dixie” will follow the recently renewed “Gossip Girl” on Monday nights.
In the supernatural vein, the network also greenlit “The Secret Circle,” about an orphaned girl who discovers that she’s a witch who “holds the key to an ancient battle between good and evil.”
“Circle” will air on Thursday nights, following the return of “Vampire Diaries,” CW’s renewed series about two vampire brothers who fall for the same girl. Perhaps Gellar can provide a crossover appearance in that series as “Buffy,” thereby creating some sort of black hole in the universe.
Finally, Mario Lopez scores his umpteenth hosting gig (seriously, does this guy ever sleep?) as he takes the reigns on “H8R,” a new reality show, which will “bring celebrities face-to-face with the people who love to hate them.”
That show will lead into “America’s Next Top Model” on Wednesday nights.
In a statement, Mark Pedowitz, CW's new president, said that this new block of shows will appeal to the network's "core audience of women," while also bringing in new viewers. "We’re being aggressive with smart, bold scheduling moves," he said, "designed to improve key time periods and grow our audience.”
Pedowitz was previously the president of ABC studios, but according to Deadline, he was unceremoniously removed from that job last year.