CW Staggers Its Debut

New net will roll out schedule over two weeks

July 17 2006

Tyra Banks of 'America's Next Top Model'
Tyra Banks of 'America's Next Top Model'
PASADENA, Calif. -- Day One of The CW Era will be Wednesday, Sept. 20. Or, two days after the former UPN and WB affiliates switch over from their former identities.

Although there won't be dead air on Sept. 18 and 19, The CW's official launch will happen on the 20th with a two-hour premiere of "America's Next Top Model." The new network will then stagger the rollout of its other shows over the next two weeks.

Photos: The CW's Premiere Dates

Pro-wrestling franchise "Friday Night Smackdown!" will be next up, making its CW debut Friday, Sept. 22. The weekday schedule will fall into place the following week, with the network's Sunday comedies premiering Oct. 1 and "Veronica Mars" forming the last piece of the puzzle on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

UPN officially ends its life as a network on Friday, Sept. 15; The WB will go off the air two nights later. Affiliates of The CW will switch over on Monday, Sept. 18. The two days before the "Top Model" premiere will probably be filled with repeats and a premiere special, says Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment at The CW. They'll also allow the network to "iron out the kinks" caused by the changeover.

The CW, you may have heard, was born from the merger of UPN and The WB and will feature a schedule that combines shows from both networks along with a couple of new shows. It will reach about 95 percent of the country.

Here are the premiere dates (all times Eastern, new shows in bold):

Wednesday, Sept. 20

8 p.m. "America's Next Top Model" (two hours)

Friday, Sept. 22

8 p.m. "Friday Night Smackdown!"

Monday, Sept. 25

8 p.m. "7th Heaven"
9 p.m. "Runaway"

Tuesday, Sept. 26

8 p.m. "Gilmore Girls"

Wednesday, Sept. 27

9 p.m. "One Tree Hill"

Thursday, Sept. 28

8 p.m. "Smallville"
9 p.m. "Supernatural"

Sunday, Oct. 1

7 p.m. "Everybody Hates Chris" (new timeslot)
7:30 p.m. "All of Us" (new timeslot)
8 p.m. "Girlfriends" (new timeslot)
8:30 p.m. "The Game"
9 p.m. "America's Next Top Model" encore

Tuesday, Oct. 3

9 p.m. "Veronica Mars"

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