This morning’s CW new-schedule press reports decry a world in which Tomorrow People is axed while Beauty And The Beast lives on, and the shocking lack of Supernatural spinoff on the slate. New series instead include Jane The Virgin (engaged virgin gets artificially inseminated by accident at medical clinic) that’s paired with returning vampire/werewolf/witch drama The Originals on Mondays, and The Flash (DC franchise in which guy acquires super-fast powers after run-in with cutting edge particle accelerator) that’s paired with 10th season of Supernatural mothership 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 more 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:
11:02 AM ET: Neon Trees warms up the crowd with Everybody Talks, Here We Go Again, etc. continuing CW tradition of having pop hit presentation crowd warm-up. Advertisers have been given glow-sticks for CW’s traditional audience-participation portion of the presentation (One year, security wrist-bands strapped to all the advertisers, media and station execs in attendance suddenly began to glow in the dark during CW’s Upfront reveal — It made quite an impression on exhausted attendees.)
11:09 AM ET: Network opens with clip from The Flash, introduced by Arrow star Stephen Amell. A very different median age at CW than at other upfronts this week. Did CW invite fans? Lots of screams for Amell. Hopefully the wardrobe budget for The Flash will grow, in success — Flash’s outfit in photos sent to media look like something out of a costume shop catalogue.
11:17 AM ET: Cast of The Flash introduces “The superhero of CW sales,” Rob Tuck, who gives a short speech, almost entirely free of Tarmac Hand Signals, and then introduces Mark Pedowitz, who notes it’s “terrific to have two legendary heroes” on the fall schedule. The Flash fits in perfectly with his strategy of programming with a wider more balanced appeal. “As you might have noticed, it’s a very different CW,” CW Chief Mark Pedowitz says, explaining that when he started with CW in ’11 “We were the Gossip Girl Network…We wanted to bring more men to the network — and to add more original programing throughout the year.” Monday is this season’s priority he says, then introduces clip for Jane The Virgin — total chick soap.
11:25 AM ET: “Thank you for joining us today,” Pedowitz tells advertisers, media and station execs in the hall. “We are thrilled to have these two amazing and every different new series, The Flash and Jane The Virgin coming this fall.” Wait — is it over? Yes, he’s walked through all of the new shows on the schedule — all two of them. But what about the glow-sticks?
Turns out he’s not wrapping things up (reporters were told Pedowitz was under-the-weather this morning and would move along briskly), he’s switching gears a bit, to talk about digital. “As I said, we’re a different network than we were a few years ago,” he says, boasting of CW’s ability to “deliver viewers across multiple platforms.” Digital streaming of CW programming is up 60% over last year, he says — The Originals is the most social new series of this season, broadcast or cable “and the conversation about CW shows lasts beyond one night. Our fans share content and talk about our shows and stars all week long, every day, throughout the year.”And as we remain the leader in engaging our viewers…we also lead the way with original digital content.” Which brings him to….
11:31 AM ET: Veronica Mars’ web spinoff will be called Play It Again, Dick. (Creator Rob Thomas had said that the spinoff would feature Ryan Hansen trying to put together a Dick Casablancas spinoff of Veronica Mars.) The 10-episode web series — each episode will be 10-minutes long — will premiere on CW’s digital platform, CW Seed. Also, in July, CW will premiere new original episodes of its CW Seed digital show Backpackers.
11:34 AM ET: Mark Pedowitz continues to talk advertisers through his new schedule, paying special tribute to Supernatural which enjoyed its highest rated season in four years — no small feat for a series entering its 10th season. And yet, no Supernatural spinoff on the schedule. Stars come out to say thanks to advertisers for nine seasons and add “here’s hoping for nine more” which is so not going to happen because then the show would be older than CW’s target audience — it’s already older than CW.
11:38 AM ET: Pedowitz continues to walk through schedule. He notes Time magazine has called Arrow the best super-hero franchise on screen, while those CW fans who’ve been let into the presentation wonder what is this thing called Time magazine.
Since 2010 the amount of original programming on CW has grown by 43% Pedowitz says. With that in mind, he announces Hart Of Dixie coming back; ditto Beauty and Beast. And new to CW: rapture drama The Messenger, and zombie drama iZombie. Latter is about med student who gets turned into zombie during one of those wild parties; now she watches TV all day and works at the morgue by night so she can eat human brains with chopsticks. When she eats brains, however, she gets the corpse’s memories. Now she’s a crime-solving, brain-eating, memory-scarfing zombie. And her boss thinks he can cure “zombie.” Pedowitz’s audience seems to like it, based on applause.
11:50 AM ET: This is our most watched season in three years,” Pedowitz says — again. “Our programming is stronger, more diverse,” he says, ticking off his slate of epic fantasies, apocalypses and heartfelt comedies. Suddenly, it’s over, and we’ll never know what those glow-sticks were for.