Like Nina Tassler, who runs sibling network CBS, the CW President Mark Pedowitz too plans to stick with the traditional pilots season despite Fox’s decision to abandon the model, announced by chairman Kevin Reilly on Monday. “We do not do that many pilots,” he noted. Indeed, the biggest complaint about pilot season has been the pressure to cast and produce so many pilots in so little time, chasing the same talent. The CW makes about eight pilots, about a third of the number most of the Big 4 networks, and the network doesn’t go for the same actors as its shows feature younger characters mostly cast with up-and-coming actors. Pedowitz also talked up the CW’s high pilot-to-series ratio, which is closer to a cable network than a broadcaster. In moving away from pilot season, Reilly said he was hoping to improve the network’s batting average, with fewer pilots and most of them going to series. In the CW’s two development seasons under Pedowitz, the network made eight pilots each year, with four of them going to series in 2012 and five in 2013, a very high percentage for a broadcaster. “For us it’s a very efficient system, and you learn things that you would never have seen otherwise,” Pedowitz said. “We are perfectly happy with the traditional system but wish Kevin well.”
Pedowitz used the word “bullish” when describing the prospects of two projects, drama pilot The Flash and freshman series Reign. He said that the decision to do The Flash as a standalone pilot directed by David Nutter versus the original plan of a backdoor episode of Arrow would allow the series to “start off with a bang” the way Arrow did with its pilot episode, also directed by Nutter. Pedowitz was noncommittal about The Carrie Diaries but noted a ratings improvement for Reign, adding, “I’m looking forward to it returning.” (Pedowitz also walked out to the theme music to the period drama.) He also defended Hart Of Dixie‘s ratings performance, noting that “has held up fairly well in a tough time period.”
But there will be no reprieve for low rated dancing reality series Breaking Pointe which will not be coming back. “It did not do enough on air to keep it going,” Pedowitz said. Also dead for now — the CW’s Wonder Woman project Amazon, which had gone through redevelopment.
Pedowitz again professed his love for Supernatural, indicating that the veteran drama will likely be renewed. “As a fan of the show, who’s seen every episode, as long as I’m here and those numbers hold, God bless them, they can go as long as they want,” he said. After the session, he also spoke of the Supernatural spinoff in the works, which is set in Chicago. He said there are no confirmed plans for a crossover cast but any crossovers “have to be organic, you can only do them when the time is right.”
With a lineup led by Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and The Originals, is the CW becoming a genre network? “We are a network of high-concept, fantasy, serialized drama — Gossip Girl would fit into that,” Pedowitz said. “Audience is not coming to us for a normal, typical procedural.”