How to put this nicely… The standards for success on The CW are far lower than on any comparable basic cable network. That’s one way of saying that, even if one of The CW’s original series pulls in ratings which would make FOX executives go white as a sheet, cancellation is not necessarily inevitable. It also helps that The CW is traditionally a lot more liberal with renewals than, say, NBC, which cancelled every half-hour comedy it premiered this past season. Today, as it turns out, is a very happy day for fans of The CW brand, as the network has announced that it’s handing early renewals to five of its dramas.
The lucky shows include linchpin dramas The Vampire Diaries and Arrow, the rock-solid Supernatural, Vampire Diaries‘ spinoff The Originals, and, most surprisingly, the freshman historical drama Reign.
Out of these five, the first three were sure things. Supernatural romance series The Vampire Diaries, currently in its fifth season, is still the network’s highest-rated show in all key demos, including the crucial adults 18-49 demographic. Meanwhile, superhero action-drama Arrow is the network’s most-watched drama, at 3.9 million viewers (see what I mean about lower standards?). A third season was certain, and the network is even investing in a spin-off series called Flash, centered on the titular DC Comics speedster.
Pairing The Originals with Supernatural gave The CW its highest-rated Tuesday nights in a long time (the network now averages 3.2 million on that night, compared to last year’s 1.7 million), so those renewals also don’t come as much of a surprise. Supernatural has been around forever, and the renewal means that it will make it to the elusive ten-season mark. The Originals, a fresh face this fall, has carved out a small niche for itself, and keeping the Vampire Diaries brand strong is certainly in The CW’s best interests.
The fate of Reign was less assured. It certainly wasn’t a breakout hit, but The CW has said that it’s satisfied with the show’s creative direction, and its ratings are decent enough now (it’s averaging 3.25 million viewers) to warrant a second season.
Noticeably absent from the list of renewals are all of The CW’s “bubble shows,” which many analysts are saying could go either way at this point. Freshman sci-fi series The Tomorrow People hasn’t taken off in the way that CW brass were likely hoping, the second season of The Carrie Diaries tanked in the ratings (its finale drew .86 million viewers, and that’s up from its premiere), the second season of Beauty & the Beast (on hiatus until May) similarly disappointed, and medical drama Hart of Dixie is still a very soft performer in its third season. Any or all of them could get the ax.
The fate of those four shows is highly dependent on how dystopian drama The 100 and alien romance Star-Crossed do when they debut this spring. Unless both newcomers tank (The 100‘s chances of taking off look particularly good), I wouldn’t expect any of the network’s low-rated programs to make it another season.
Are you glad to see that the five renewed shows will be sticking around? And which underdog are you rooting for, if any? Let us know in the comments section!