Will Killing Off a Main Character on Melrose Place Net the CW Dallas Numbers? (Answer: No)

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Photo: Courtesy of The CW

When we first analyzed the promotional poster for the CW's reboot of Melrose Place last month, we mistakenly assumed that the leaf-strewn pool was the result of some nefarious plot by the redheaded, man-eating vixen Sydney Andrews. How do we know that we're mistaken? Well, in an article on the mildly anticipated show in today's Los Angeles Times, we learn that the psychologically unstable (and formerly dead!) Melrose Place resident played by Laura Leighton gets mysteriously offed during the first ten minutes of the pilot! If you think that this revelation somehow goes against the Official Vulture Statutes of Limitations spoiler policy, let us assure you that it most certainly does not: Not only is the network openly discussing the plot point with journalists, but it has also been prominently featured in trailers for the program. You see, it's all part of a hilarious plot hatched by the network to try to lure viewers into watching their (almost assuredly crappy) show.

After learning the lesson with their reboot of 90210 last fall that the nostalgia factor alone was not enough to sustain a program, network execs decided to take a risk and kill off a popular mainstay from the original nineties campfest right away. While we generally applaud ruthlessness of this sort in the medium, we fear the network might have some unrealistic expectations about how successful this gimmick will be in drawing viewers to their show:

"It was too hard to introduce the show [to advertisers] and not include the murder mystery because I think that's what's going to get people hooked right away," CW President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff said. "Oh, my God, there's a dead body and all of these people are suspects. My hope is that it's as big a question as 'Who shot J.R.?'"

We haven't seen the pilot ourselves, but knowing what (little) we know of the business of television, we're fairly certain the CW will have some trouble convincing 4 million people to tune in to their pilot, let alone the 41 million who tuned in to CBS in November 1980 to find out who plugged J.R. Ewing. We're glad to see that Ostroff is optimistic, but we think it might behoove her to temper those expectations ever so slightly.

A return to 'Melrose Place' [LAT]