The CW upfronts. 11 am yesterday. Madison Square garden. Teen stars struggling with the teleprompter. Flashcut montages and Facebook quotes from rabid teenybopper fans on the screens. Sample: "I WANT THIS SHOW FOREVER :((((" We . . . We're not even sure what that means. Katy Perry was on hand to play with her neon skinny jeans-clad band. -
Proving that entertainment journalists and advertising execs do not a good concert audience make, the attendees remained unmoved even when the singer asked, “Is it too early for you to stand up and make some fucking noise?” Katy, don’t ask foolish questions. The crowd straggled to its feet grudgingly, then immediately sat down again.
Don’t cry for Katy Perry, though. The sequin-clad pop star released her tension by pretending to punch 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord at the end of the upfronts. AnnaLynne didn’t seem to notice - but then she was awkwardly gyrating while surrounded by other CW headliners, few of whom were trying at all.
For the first time in its 4-year history, the CW will have original programming filling the 8-10 primetime slot, Monday through Friday. (For all five two 1.3 of you High Society fans, that means that the reality show probably won’t be back, though mid-season might tell a different story.) The network’s wildly successful Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl series have prime slots, and two new dramas are joining the line-up. Both of those new dramas seem awfully . . . familiar:
A counterculture (read: she wears fingerless mesh gloves) coed is forced to join the cheerleading team in order to keep her college scholarship. With mean girls, arabesque twists, raging keggers, and Disney star Ashley Tisdale in the frenemy role, this show is every Bring It On Movie rolled into an hour-long drama format. At first we were unswayed by star Aly Michalka’s histrionically intense eyes and even more intense eyebrows. Then we saw her abs, which are the focus of 40% of the camera shots. And her butt, which rounds out the remaining 60%. The show looks like good kitschy fun, but we’re betting that Aly’s body will be the breakout star . . . at least where it concerns fourteen-year-old boys who are forced to sit through their older sisters’ favorite tv programs.
Another thing going for Hellcats is producer Tom Welling, otherwise known as Smallville’s Superman. We can’t claim to be giant Tom Welling fans, and we have no idea of his producing capabilities, but readers, that man’s eyes can see into our soul.
Forget original, Nikita’s show concept isn’t even unoriginal – it’s a remake of a remake of the French film about a female rogue assassin. And if you’ve seen Alias or even Jessica Alba’s Dark Angel, you’ve seen this before. The hourlong drama stars Maggie Q, who’s the only novel thing the show has going for it; at the upfronts, the coltish actress charmed the crowd of ad execs by asking the audience where her onstage mark was, then quipping, “I don’t think any of you know good-looking it is backstage – I had to push the A cups up. Like, we exist.” (We’ve also got to note that it’s refreshing to see a non-Caucasian actress in a lead role; The Polish-Irish-Vietnamese-American Maggie Q will be the CW’s first primetime Asian-American star.) Plain Jane
Plain Jane was an unlikely crowd-pleaser at the upfronts, prompting roaring laughter, enthusiastic applause, and audible OMG's. This summer reality series follows life coach and stylist Louise Roe as she transforms a shy wallflower in preparation for the girl declaring her love to her longtime crush - It's "What Not To Wear" crossed with "The Dog Whisperer," with some romance thrown in. Initially skeptical, the audience began to perk up when certain things became clear: Louise Roe has a British accent. The wallflower (in the preview ep, at least) is the most genuine and adorable wallflower ever. Louise pulls all kinds of shit behind her wallflower's back, including secretly setting up blind dates. Louise sends the wallflower to a dog park to practice picking up guys and electrically shocks her when she fails to attract the menfolk. IT ENDS WITH A KISS AND A ROMANTIC SLOW DANCE. If the show strikes that note of absurdity without slipping into condescension, it could be a winner.