LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- After seven low-rated weeks, The CW has pulled the plug on its MRC-produced Sunday lineup.
The block, which consists of newcomers "In Harm's Way," "Valentine" and "Easy Money" as well as Canadian import "4Real," will have its final airing this weekend. An assortment of repeats and theatricals will fill the night starting November 30.
John D. Maatta, The CW's COO, broke the news in an open letter to the netlet's affiliates today:
November 20, 2008
We are now two and a half months into our new season and some terrific progress has been made.
Our strategy this year was to focus on Monday - Friday, particularly the early part of the week. Clearly that strategy has worked, as we are up in our key demographic of women 18-34 by 150% Monday and 41% on Tuesday. "Top Model" continues to shine Wednesdays, winning its time period on a regular basis, while "Smallville" and "Supernatural" continue to keep us in the game on Thursday versus tough competition. Additionally, we have improved our 18-49 demos by 78% Monday and 8% Monday-Thursday.
In the process, we are building a distinct and powerful brand of young-female skewing programming with new shows like "Gossip Girl" and "90210" complementing veteran hits "One Tree Hill" and "Top Model."
As you know, to focus our efforts on the earlier part of the week, we entered into a time buy agreement with Media Rights Capital to program Sunday night. While this move has clearly paid dividends for the overall schedule, the results on Sunday night have been below expectations. The MRC shows are simply not working.
To that end, we have made a business and programming decision to protect our network and your local interests on Sunday for the remainder of the season.
The programs from Media Rights Capital will have their final airing this Sunday, November 23, 2008. Effective November 30, 2008, The CW will resume programming Sunday nights.
Our plan is to program Sunday with distinctive, first-rate programming that can quickly stabilize the night. We will work with you to promote and market this new night, with a lineup that will include quality scripted series and contemporary theatrical titles. Here is the lineup:
5:00 - 6:00 pm: EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS/THE GAME
6:00 - 7:00 pm: THE DREW CAREY SHOW
7:00 - 8:00 pm: JERICHO
8:00 - 10:00 pm: MOVIE
Our Affiliate Relations and Affiliate Marketing teams will be in immediate touch with your personnel regarding this important schedule change.
We will continue to work diligently and find success via the best means possible and move quickly to shore up troubled timeslots. We will continue to invest in new programming that will evolve into valued primetime assets for you, our affiliates, and our parent companies, CBS and Warner Bros.
We appreciate the partnership we have with you, our affiliates, and we will continue to work closely to take our success to the next level.
John D. Maatta
A revamp of the lineup had been expected following the announcement on October 14 that scripted efforts "Valentine" and "Easy Money" would suspend production after their eighth episodes (read the story). The network subsequently dropped all first-run airings of the MRC series (save for "4Real") earlier this month. "Valentine" and "Money" will finish with four installments on the shelf as will five for "Way" and at least one for "4Real."
The group opened to an invisible 0.4 rating among adults 18-49 on October 5 and never improved. Last Sunday's all-repeat broadcast delivered an average 0.2 rating in the key demographic.
It's not clear how the aforemention news will affect the production and/or broadcast of midseason comedy "Surviving Suburbia," also from MRC.