The CW had been open to launching as many as six new drama series next season and it may still do it. The network picked up five pilots to series and the one that just missed the cut, The Selection, remains in serious contention. I hear CW brass are planning to sit down with the producers of the project next week to discuss its redeveloping. Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, who wrote the adaptation of Kiera Cass’ novels, are expected to remain on board but instead of staying close to the source material as they did this season, they will likely use the books more of a jumping-off point the second time around. The cast is expected to change, but the CW and The Selection studio Warner Bros TV are looking to keep the lead — Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden — who got high marks. The project is being put on a fast track and, if it comes together, could join the CW’s schedule in midseason. “I truly believe that there is a series in The Selection,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said after the network’s upfront presentation today.
As part of Pedowitz’s efforts to re-introduce comedy series on the network, the CW developed several half-hour scripts. None of them was picked up to pilot — Pedowitz explained the decision with the need to stabilize the schedule, which is done easier with hourlong series. Now that he feels the lineup is in good shape, Pedowitz said he will focus attention on comedies. Of the half-hour scripts that the CW developed this past cycle, two remain in contention: an adaptation of the 2009 British comedy FM starring pre-Bridesmaids Chris O’Dowd, about two radio DJs and their producers; and the Ben McMillan- and Josh Greenbaum-written and Craig Zadan- and Neil Meron-produced Swordfighting, about two young couples. While one of the scripts is written as a single-camera and one as multi-, both may be done as single-camera as the CW will likely re-introduce scripted comedy to its drama-heavy lineup with single-camera shows. Like The Selection, the two comedy projects could be piloted off cycle and launch later in the season.
After the CW upfront presentation, Pedowitz also addressed the network’s plan for an October fall launch. He said that the network’s fall lineup will roll out from October 1-10. He said that with the network’s previous strategy of starting early, their shows would open well and then when the broadcast premiere week hits with several dozen series/season premieres, they would “lose traction.” By launching after the new shows on the other broadcast networks had already been sampled for two weeks, he hopes the CW shows won’t lose momentum and will also be able to air originals uninterrupted through December. The CW’s first-ever summer schedule will run through September for a seamless transition.
While I hear 11 episodes is the target for the final season of Gossip Girl, Pedowitz said that talks with studio Warner Bros. TV are ongoing and the final number would likely be between 10-12 episodes. He stressed that the upcoming eighth season of Supernatural is absolutely not envisioned to be the show’s final. He said that the move of Nikita from 8 PM to 9 PM on Friday, where it is facing NBC’s Grimm and Fox’s Fringe, was made to give its affiliates a better news lead-in as Nikita is a broader, older-skewing show. He also noted that its series adaptation of Deadman is not dead and he is proud of having Ringer on the air. It was a “complicated serial show” that was also hurt by a long midseason hiatus, leading to its cancellation but its star Sarah Michelle Gellar “is coming back to this network as a producer or as an actress,” Pedowitz said.
Pedowitz was the latest network topper to express frustration over Dish’s proposed Auto Hop feature, which automatically erases commercials from shows, saying it will “bite the hand that supplies the content” and indicating that the satcaster should “pay suppliers for all ad revenue they are losing.”