CW chief Mark Pedowitz got on the phone this morning to talk to press tour reporters about his new schedule, which has just two new series for fall: Jane The Virgin — engaged virgin (Gina Rodriguez) gets artificially inseminated by accident at medical clinic — is paired with returning vampire/werewolf/witch drama The Originals on Mondays. And The Flash — guy acquires super-fast powers after run-in with cutting edge particle accelerator — is paired with 10th season of Supernatural on Tuesdays. Arrow, meanwhile, is back on Wednesdays, with post-apocalyptic drama The 100, The Vampire Diaries segues into crunchy gravel drama Reign on Thursdays, and improv comedy Whose Line Is It Anyway leads into America’s Next Top Model on Fridays.) Two new dramas are on the midseason bench: iZombie — pretty med student turned into a zombie when zombie feeding frenzy breaks out at a party — and The Messengers — scientist’s heart stops in New Mexico desert when mysterious objects falls to earth and explodes, linking her with four strangers. Also back in ’15: returning Hart Of Dixie and fantasy Beauty And The Beast.
Here’s how it went…
8:30 AM ET: “We had a really good year this year,” Pedowitz said by way of warming up the crowd. It’s CW’s most watched season in three years. The network will finish the season up in total viewers, up in 18-49, steady in 18-34 and with its highest concentration of young men yet. The crop of new series joining the slate will advance his goal for “more inclusive programming.”
No Upfront Week would be complete without CW fielding a “When are you going to get into the half-hour comedy business?” question — it was the first one Pedowitz fielded. “It depends on where were at,” he answered, non-committally.
When asked about the number of episodes ordered on Hart Of Dixie, Pedowitz said he doesn’t discuss orders.
8:35 AM ET: One reporter wondered why Pedowitz had renewed Beauty And The Beast but not Tomorrow People, which did better numbers. Pedowitz reminded the reporter he’s always said CW was a “very different type of broadcaster” and ratings aren’t everything. Beauty And The Beast has “great upside potential for our audience.” It’s a great business model in that the series works in the international marketplace as well as digitally, etc. Tomorrow People was a “really, really good show” but “just didn’t have the same level of social engagement or digital that Beauty And The Beast had,” he said.
That seemed to shake up the reporters — there was only one more question, after which they fell silent. The conference call operator gently urged reporters to ask some more questions. One reporter bravely stepped up, starting with a compliment to Pedowitz on his success to date with spinoffs. She then wondered, in the nicest way possible, why there was no new Supernatural spinoff on the slate, and wondered if CW would try again to do that, using a different approach, next season. “The answer is yes to the first part,” Pedowitz said. He said he is aware Supernatural is a great brand, but the shows he picked up had really good pilots while a spinoff idea for “Supernatural just didn’t get there.” The network has gone back to the creators and the studio to say it wants them to develop again for next season and “what it is or isn’t will be discussed, come June or July,” he said.
8:53 AM ET: Another reporter wondered why The Originals has been paired with Jane The Virgin on Monday. Because The Originals “skews more female than male” and CW execs “thought that was a good lead-in for Jane The Virgin because that will skew very heavily female. That’s why we went in that direction,” Pedowitz said.
And with that, the reporters collapsed, and the “short and sweet” (as a CW rep called it, getting it right on the first describer anyway) Q&A was over.