The CW’s Sunday morning announcement that the network is renewing 7 fall series had already answered a number of questions that would’ve been asked during today’s TCA executive session. Still, the Q&A was welcomed by critics, with president Mark Pedowitz getting a big round of applause for facing them after most of his broadcast colleagues opted not to this press tour.
Even though Supernatural was among the renewed shows with a 13th Season pickup, there was the regular inquiry about how long the paranormal series could go. The answer was the same as usual.
“As long as the show is performing, the boys (stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) want to do it and I am in the chair, Supernatural has a long life,” said Pedowitz, who has been a fan of the show since before joining the CW.
Because it was held for midseason and has yet to debut its fourth season, the fate of The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals‘ will not be decided until spring. Pedowitz was asked whether the offshoot could go on after the mothership series ends.
“I’m hoping that The Originals can continue, a lot of it will depend on performance,” Pedowitz said, adding that he believes in showrunner Julie Plec.
There also were questions about the CW’s two fall series that did not land on the list of renewals, freshmen No Tomorrow and Frequency, which failed to get back episode orders after soft ratings starts.
“Unless something extraordinary happened, we had no intention to go beyond 13 because we had five scripted series for midseason (Riverdale, The Originals, iZombie, The 100 and the final season of Reign),” Pedowitz said.
He added that No Tomorrow and Frequency were “very well executed.” But “whether it was the fall presidential election, the World Series or NBC’s This Is Us, which aired against No Tomorrow, the linear ratings for the shows were not what we wanted them to be,” Pedowitz said.
Because of the CW’s Netflix deal, both No Tomorrow and Frequency will be available on the streaming service soon, so there is some possibility for renewal in May if any show has “a huge binge moment.”
The CW this morning moved in to renew a series with very soft ratings performance, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, picked up alongside the also modestly rated Jane the Virgin.
“Great programming, sometimes you just leave it on the air,” he said, adding that the critically praised comedies have helped alter “what the perception of the CW is.”
Having acclaimed shows also is good business, Pedowitz said, adding that those shows bring new viewers to the network and its digital platforms that would not normally do so.
While it was rough going early on in the fall for the CW with linear ratings seriously challenged, things got stronger as time passed, with delayed and digital viewing giving the initial numbers some boost. The DC crossover delivered big ratings and Jane and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend landed two more Golden Globe nominations for their Golden Globe-winning stars Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom.
Starting with this season, the CW controls the in-season rights to all of its series. “Controlling its destiny” has been great, Pedowitz said, reporting a 50% growth in digital viewership over the past three months.
Pedowitz also was asked about a number of remakes the CW has in the works, including a new Charmed series from Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman, a Dynasty reboot from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and a Lost Boys reboot from Rob Thomas.
While Charmed is set in the 1970s, a few decades before the original series, it is not envisioned as a prequel, at least not for now. “At this point, it is a self-contained, self-sustained show,” Pedowitz said. “There is the power of three element in there, but at this time, it is a very standalone show.”
As for Dynasty, Pedowitz, who confessed to being more of a Dallas than Dynasty fan at the time of the original soaps’ runs, said that the reboot will keep the two original families and introduce new characters. He would not divulge other details.
The CW also has Riverdale coming up, the new TV adaptation of the famous Archie comic book property. While Pedowitz stressed that “it is not a high-school show,” he did note that the network brass felt it was a good time to revisit high school angst.
“Pretty Little Liars is going through its last season; Teen Wolf is on its last season. For us, it was very simple: We had grown enough that we could go back into a genre we thought we’d edged up a little and put it in our programming mix,” he said.
Overall, Pedowitz sounded upbeat about the network, which recently marked its 10th year anniversary.
“We’re a feisty little 10-hour service,” he said.