The CW eliminated probably half of TV critics’ potential questions for boss Mark Pedowitz when the network announced a massive, eight-series renewal at the top of the CW’s TCA executive session today, determining the future of all scripted series on its fall 2014 schedule.
One CW scripted series that had a later start, in December, and wasn’t part of the mass renewal, Hart Of Dixie, did come up.
“We haven’t committed yet” to whether the series will continue beyond this season, Pedowitz said. “I’m happy to see how it plays. If (the series) ends, it is a great finale, if it doesn’t, it’s a great season finale.”
With DC Comic-based Arrow and The Flash doing so well, will the CW try to add another series to cross over with them? “We are in preliminary discussions to expand the Flash-Arrow universe,” Pedowitz said, declining to elaborate further. The creative team behind the two series later hinted that they are exploring a series based on the DC character Atom.
The CW’s planted Supernatural spinoff didn’t go, but the network is not giving up on turning its longest-running scripted series into a franchise.
“I’ve been pretty outspoken that I’ve wanted another spinoff,” Pedowitz said. Now that Supernatural has been renewed for an 11th season, “Hopefully next year they will come with something,” he added.
The Backpackers didn’t quite work (Pedowitz noted that Rentrak data for the show was much stronger than the Nielsen numbers that sealed its fate) but the CW is not giving up on finding a half-hour scripted comedy. Again, the network is looking at its digital division Seed, which developed The Backpackers, as an incubator of a new comedy series for this coming summer. In another possible Seed-CW crossover, the title character from the animated digital series Vixen may make a live-action appearance on The Flash or Arrow.
The CW is now offering 60% original product year-round and the goal is to grow that even further with more summer originals and staggering established series’ runs into the off-season. There are no immediate plans to expand the five nights the CW currently programs, though Pedowitz noted that Saturday has been discussed as a possibility.
The CW will again pick up 5-6 hourlong pilots this season and plans to launch two new scripted series next fall. Whether there will be more backup series for midseason will depend on the performance of the network’s new midseason entries this season, iZombie and The Messengers.
Pedowitz also noted that the network is in discussion with its digital distribution partners (the CW has deals with Hulu and Netflix) about getting stacking rights on a show like Jane The Virgin, which would help the network grow the serialized first-year dramedy by allowing viewers to catch up.