CW counts on history as eye candy
BEVERLY HILLS -- Every year, The CW gets grilled about its target demo at the Television Critics Association summer press tour and every year, network president Mark Pedowitz identifies some area of the demo that needs shoring up and points to a couple of programs that may do that.
And they just might. But that doesn't mean the CBS-owned channel will ever stray too far from making frothy shows featuring incredibly beautiful people to appeal to younger viewers. They may talk 18-to-49 but many loyal viewers of shows like "Arrow" and "The Vampire Diaries" are younger than that.
The odds-show-out for the fall is "Reign," a Canadian co-production about the early life of Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) who, as a child, played with the future king of France and is already penciled in to marry him later on to forge a political alliance between Scotland and France.
Toby Regbo ("Treasure Island") plays Prince Francis, and, according to my much better-versed friend Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News, is nothing like the real Frankie, who was younger than Mary and rather sickly. Regbo is a neo-Teddy-boy with sea-green eyes and artfully tousled hair.
Kane and all the ladies of the French and Scottish courts look like they're planning to make a pit stop at Greystone Manor on their way to the castle. Who knew they had electric lipstick shades back in the 16th century?
What distinguishes "Reign" is that it has a more expensive look than most CW shows. Someone even said it looked like it belonged on Showtime, CW's more respected sibling. Not sure about that, but it does have a certain feel of quality.
Pedowitz and the CW were happy that "Arrow" brought male viewers back to the channel, and see "Reign" as attractive to female viewers as well.
Historians need not apply.
The channel has a couple of other sexy offerings for the fall, such as "The Tomorrow People," exec-produced by Greg Berlanti ("Arrow," "Everwood"), and Julie Plec ("The Vampire Diaries"). The series stars Robbie Amell ("Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous"), cousin of "Arrow's" Stephen Amell, and just as easy on the eyes.
Amell plays Stephen, a young man who discovers he has strange powers that make him part of a superior mutation of human beings called the Tomorrow People. The tomorrows want him to be part of their ranks to fend off evil forces. Luke Mitchell, Peyton List, Madeleine Mantock and Aaron Yoo are among the pretty cast.
Like his cousin, Amell has true star quality. He often looked too big for some of the secondary roles he's played in the past. Wonder if the CW will ever try a crossover ratings gimmick and overload the screen with Amells?
The channel takes a bigger bite out of the vampire franchise it's created through "The Vampire Diaries" with "The Originals," also from EP Julie Plec. The show is set in New Orleans, which is now controlled by new vampires, much to the displeasure of the Originals, the original vampires. Into the bloody power play comes Klaus Mikaeson (Joseph Morgan), who's welcomed back to town with open arms by the current king of the vamps, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who was Klaus' protege. Klaus, Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Rebekah (Claire Holt) are all original vampires.
"The Originals" will premiere on Oct. 3 along with the season premiere of "The Vampire Diaries" and "Reign" hits the air on Oct. 17. "The Tomorrow People" premieres Oct. 9.
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