We're still a few months out from the annual network upfronts, but that hasn't stopped The CW from starting their celebration early. The little network that could has granted early renewals to five of its top drama series, including three veteran programs, and two freshman upstarts.
First up on the renewal docket is 'Supernatural.' Premiering in 2005 (about a year before The WB combined with UPN to form The CW), 'Supernatural' is easily the network's longest tenured series, and there's a very simple reason for that: it's a ratings magnet. In a land of 0.4s, the show regularly drawing 1.2s is truly king, and the fact that Season 9 of Eric Kripke's ever more complex drama is still pulling in one of the largest audiences on its network is a huge testament to both the quality of the writing and the staying power of characters like Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Crowley. While the tenth season has been heavily rumored to be 'Supernatural's last, The CW neither confirmed or denied that possibility when making the renewal announcement. Look for the backdoor pilot for upcoming spin-off 'Supernatural: Tribes' this spring.
Next up is 'The Vampire Diaries,' which joins 'Supernatural' in the "its ratings are so good we'd have to be insane to cancel it" category. In fact, 'The Vampire Diaries' slightly outstrips 'Supernatural' for the crown of best rated show on The CW. Now in its fifth season, 'TVD's dominance is such that it often tops NBC in its timeslot. The show's reach has even managed to expand this year, via the introduction of mega successful spin-off 'The Originals.' Speaking of which, the fiercely loyal 'Diaries' audience (including our resident Weekly Fang Girls) will be pleased to hear that 'The Originals' has also been picked up for a second season.
Joining its above contemporaries is sophomore superhero series 'Arrow,' which just so happens to be The CW's third highest rated show among adults 18-49. I'm sensing a pattern here. While the first season of 'Arrow' was incredibly well received, most fans seem to be even more in love with Season 2, which has served to introduce new favorite characters, and expand the overall scope of Starling City. Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen will also be getting some company soon, when the spin-off happy folks at The CW introduce a contemporary adaptation of 'The Flash,' starring recurring 'Arrow' guest star Grant Gustin as Barry Allen.
Finally, in a mild shocker, The CW has elected to renew its period drama 'Reign' for a second season. Set in sixteenth century France, 'Reign' chronicles the (fictionalized) early years of Mary, Queen of Scots. Featuring no recognizable stars, and drawing decidedly mediocre ratings, 'Reign' has spent most of its freshman year skating around on the cancel/renew bubble. The 0.6 it almost constantly draws is hardly impressive, even by CW standards, coming in far below what the four also renewed shows discussed above pull down. Still, dramas like 'Hart of Dixie' and 'Beauty and the Beast' are lucky to earn an 0.4, making 'Reign's numbers represent a sort of middle ground for the network.
Both 'Supernatural' and 'The Originals' return with new episodes on Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'Arrow' comes back on Wednesday, Feb. 26. 'The Vampire Diaries and 'Reign' are set to rise from the grave on Thursday, Feb. 27. 'Supernatural: Tribes' and 'The Flash' are still in the development stage.