Must-Believe TV

Religion and faith are the bywords for The CW's new fall line-up, which includes two new shows hip to the idea of 'belief.'

Have you got your TiVo or DVR machine prepped for the fall TV season? Among the plethora of new dramas (and a few sitcoms) making their way to the small screen, the fledgling CW network's new comedic line-up is featuring two shows with faith and religion as the common themes.

"Aliens in America" and "Reaper" are creating big buzz in the media's fall television preview coverage. The hour-long series "Reaper" (premiering Sept. 25) is about slacker Sam Oliver ("The Loop's" Bret Harrison), who upon turning 21, learns his parents have sold his soul to Satan ("Twin Peaks'" Ray Wise)--and now he must become "the devil's bounty hunter."

Then there's the sitcom "Aliens in America" (premiering Oct. 1), where a Midwest Christian family gets a culture shock when the Anglo-European exchange student they were expecting (to befriend their outsider son and help him become popular) turns out a be a devout 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim: Raja Musharaff (Adhir Kalyan of the Irish TV series "Fair City").


These fresh shows are a contrast to The CW's line-up last season, which mostly featured returning series from its two predecessor networks, The WB and UPN. (The CW was launched Sept. 20, 2006, as a joint venture from Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp., which owned the WB and UPN, respectively.)

Now, The CW is focused on making new hits with its 18- to 34-year-old target market, president of entertainment Dawn Ostroff said at the network's recent Television Critics Association presentation in Los Angeles. She added that the toddler network is the only one focusing on that market, being a decade younger than closest competitor FOX.

Ostroff later said in an e-mail interview that The CW researches all aspects of the demographic without releasing any specific information: "We explore everything in their lives in our research, including religion," she said. "We will continue to voraciously analyze our demo in order to grow our network."

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