As far as television networks are concerned, the CW has one heck of a pedigree. The offspring of the late, lamented United Paramount Network (UPN) and the WB Television Network, the CW features edgy, cutting edge programming. With old favorites returning and two hot new upstarts on the schedule, here are some reasons to get pumped for the CW’s Premiere Week, which begins on Wednesday, September 8:
“Hellcats” could be this season’s “Glee”: A combination of “Step Up” and the original “Bring It On,” this teen drama tells the story of law school hopeful. After losing her scholarship, she has to win a spot on the university’s cheer squad to stay in school. If “Hellcats” can mix good writing with eye-popping dance moves, it could become a high-kicking equivalent of “Glee.” Tom Welling (“Smallville”) also is one of the executive producers, so can “Hellcats” be any less than super?
Ashley Tisdale is the anchor of the “Hellcats” cast: A Disney Channel favorite, Ashley Tisdale (“High School Musical”) heads over to the CW as a key member of the “Hellcats” cast. Tisdale’s character is deeply involved with the cheer squad as a way to achieve her own desires and dreams, which sounds suspiciously like her “High School Musical” character.
“America’s Next Top Model” is back again for Cycle 15: Other shows have tried to capture the crown, in particular TV Land’s “She’s Got the Look,” but “America’s Next Top Model” dramatizes the pressure and pain of professional modeling. “America’s Next Top Model” can be especially painful on the hopefuls, who can be on top one week and on the chopping block the next.
Maggie Q adds some serious kick to “Nikita”: When the San Diego Comic-Con first offered programming on “Preview Night” in 2008, Warner Brothers was on hand with the pilot episode of a little show called “Fringe.” Preview Nights have since become a lucky charm for the studio, which brought “Nikita” to the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con.
Based on the classic movie “La Femme Nikita,” this show features action star Maggie Q in the title role. Recruited by the United States government, Nikita tires of her assassin’s lifestyle and turns against her handlers. The fast-moving pilot episode introduces both the characters and tons of frustrating questions. “Nikita” could be the hot show to watch this fall.
Shane West versus Maggie Q: Trading in his “ER” scrubs, Shane West joins the cast of “Nikita” as Michael, a man who “obtains” new recruits for the government’s secret training program. West’s character is a good match, both physically and mentally, for Maggie Q’s Nikita.
No more freshman blues for “The Vampire Diaries”: To paraphrase the Grandpa character in “Lost Boys,” one thing I don’t like about pop culture is “all the damn vampires.” Benefiting from a 2009 San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night debut, “The Vampire Diaries” survived its freshman season, despite a glut of vampire dramas on the market. Hopefully, that overdose will inspire the writers to produce even better scripts for Season 2.
The 8th season debut of “One Tree Hill”: Where the Internet series “Quarterlife” failed, “One Tree Hill” looks deep into those transitional, twenty-something years. Still strong going into its 8th season, “One Tree Hill” is still a strong player for the CW, especially after filming 150 episodes.
Will Taylor Momsen have a meltdown?: It is sad to see Taylor Momsen, the talented young actress who starred next to Jim Carrey in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” succumb to Hollywood pressures. Momsen has been earning a reputation as a bad girl, especially with her choice of clothing and hairstyles. Seattlepi.com even referred to Momsen as the “New Bad Girl on the Block” for her outspoken attitude. Here’s hoping that at age 17, Momsen doesn’t lose everything she has worked for.
The end of “Plain Jane”-for now. The show I love to hate, “Plain Jane” is insulting to both the audience and the young women who appear on camera. One episode featured an adorable girl who wanted to be a Hollywood writer, but she lacked the courage to tell a special guy how she felt about it. The show felt she needed a complete makeover to get her man, even though any guy with half a brain would realize how great she was without sprayed on clothing and a do hairdo.
A fill-in series, “Plain Jane” ends its first season run as the CW’s Premiere Week kicks into high gear. “Plain Jane” has potential-if it can just ditch the insulting attitude.
Seattlepi.com, “Taylor Momsen: New Bad Girl on the Block,” Emily Blake