In his TCA debut today, new CW president Mark Pedowitz gave a glimpse at his strategy for the broadcast network. To sum it up, more original programming to bridge the ghastly midseason (and summer) hole on the network’s schedule when it goes into a dormant state with low-rated repeats of its serialized dramas.
In addition to launching more reality shows and boosting the orders of existing series with more episodes for more weeks of originals (CW is adding two episodes each to Gossip Girl and 90210 and one to Supernatural and Nikita this season), the network also hopes to add scripted genres that repeat better than serialized dramas for fall 2012. “We are still looking to do high-concept serialized dramas, but we will have a deeper focus on trying to get a good close-ended show that has a CW feel to it,” Pedowitz said, adding later, “It helps in repeats. We have to be able to repeat better.”
And comedy, the genre which exited CW’s slate a couple of years ago, may be making a comeback. “We are opening ourselves to look at comedies this year,” Pedowitz said. “I think there are some new comedies this fall would’ve worked on the CW: 2 Broke Girls, New Girl and Apartment 23.” After the session, he stressed that the network will develop comedy “very slowly, very smartly — baby steps, selectively.” He plans to tap into the resources of Warner Bros TV and CBS TV Studios, “two of the best studios around” for comedy.
Pedowitz also gave thumbs-up to remakes. “I do believe in remakes, putting a new twist on a great idea,” he said, giving Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica and CW’s own 90210 as examples. And with the Superman-themed Smallville gone, “we’re looking next year to do a superhero show if the right superhero comes to be,” he said. What doesn’t seem to be in the cards, at least not for the foreseeable future – restarting original programming on Sunday night.
Good news for fans of Supernatural, “it is not intended to be the last season,” Pedowitz said of the veteran sci-fi series’ upcoming 7th season. “We’ll see where the ratings go. We hope the show keeps going.” Asked about the possibility of Gossip Girl losing stars Blake Lively and Leighton Meester to features, Pedowitz didn’t want to speculate on the series’ potential future without them. “I’m a big believer in casts staying together,” he said. “We hope they stay together as long as possible. When we have to cross that bridge… we’ll see.
Of the shows he developed as president of ABC Studios, the one he feels would’ve been a better fit for the CW is drama October Road. “It would’ve been good for the CW,” he said. And yes, he is a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, whose star Sarah Michelle Gellar headlines the network’s new series Ringer this fall.
Pedowitz, who is in his 50s, walked out onstage to Alphaville’s hit Forever Young, and was asked right away how he plans to relate better to the CW’s core females 18-34 demo. “I try to get into my 26-year-old niece’s head,” he said.