Smallville, Supernatural Returns Delayed a Week

The programming strategy is sound, but the timing of the decision… well, it could’ve been better. Regardless, The CW announced just this Thursday evening that Smallville and Supernatural will not resume their seasons this Friday, as planned, but a week later, on February 4.

In their place, The CW will repeat encore tonight’s shiny new episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Nikita.

The reason for the scheduling change is two-fold, says a network source. For starters, Vampire Diaries is being preempted tonight in both Chicago (for a mayoral debate) and Bal’more (in deference to basketball).

Additionally — and, one could reckon, more importantly — this Thursday marks the first time that a first-run Vampire Diaries episode will go head-to-head with Fox’s mighty American Idol.

So, rather than let viewership of TVD (and by association, its lead-out, Nikita) suffer that multiple-whammy, The CW hopes to get more sampling of the two new episodes by encoring them 24 hours later, for good measure.