CW Upfront Presentation: Live Blog

By Lisa de Moraes, Nellie Andreeva

The CW

Batwoman will make her first live-action appearance on any screen in CW’s Arrow crossover event next season, a four-legged actor could not get into the country, and other headlines were made at CW’s Upfront presentation this morning.

CW chief Mark Pedowitz walked media buyers through network’s expansion to six nights a week, with the add of a Sunday slate, for 12 hours of original scripted programing – trailing only CBS.

Making good on its promise to use existing series and recognizable franchises to return to Sundays nine years after turned it back to affiliate stations, Supergirl got elected to kick off the night. And, it’s paired with a re-imagining of Charmed, returning to the night it last was seen on in 2006.

Arrow darts over to Mondays. Jane the Virgin warms the bench until midseason when it returns to say so-long. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie also are set for swan-song seasons.

And Jared Leto performed, while admitting it was hard to hit some of the notes in his song, due to it being only 11 AM which, he admonished, “is not rock and roll hours at all.”

Here is how it went, on ET time:

11:03 AM: CW presentation begins, per tradition, with a music performance. This year it’s Thirty Seconds to Mars.

“We’re the early morning breakfast band!” lead singer Jared Leto jokes after first number. “I’ll tell you, this not rock and roll hours at all… I hope you had your coffee and espresso and egg sandwich.”

Before his second song, Walk on Water, he tells the ad execs it’s okay “If you want to get a little crazy – but I know you got your suits on.”

11:12 AM: CW EVP National Sales Rob Tuck boasts to media buyers that the network is “thriving, innovating and now expanding,” adding Sunday night to its primetime schedule. He preaches to the choir  “We are a network born in digital and social era. Like our viewers, CW has always known a screen is a screen is a screen” to the choir.

He introduces the cast of Riverdale who, in turn introduce CW president Mark Pedowitz.

11:17 AM: CW will air nearly 370 hours of original programming, “a sizable increase from last year,” Pedowitz says, jumping into new-series pitching with high-school football drama All American. It’s about a high school football player from south Crenshaw who is recruited for play for Beverly Hills high school. CW, charmingly, is the last broadcast network to bring out on stage the casts of all of its new shows at Upfront presentation. Star Taye Diggs, who says he has been “lucky enough to have been to a few of these things says this is “the first time were I’ve actually been proud. Because this piece is topical and speaks to today.”

11:29 AM: Cast of Charmed reboot comes out on stage to say how excited they are to be “part of this magical show.”

11:31 AM: Pedowitz touts Legacies, CW’s The Originals spinoff, which he forecasts will show the “same kind of devotion and social engagement” as has The Originals which, in turn, is a spinoff of Vampire Diaries.  “No other network uses digital and social like the CW,” Pedowitz boasts. Because Legacies went straight to series from script, and late in development season, he has no clip to show media buyers.

11:35 AM: “Gift for all of us to be in Black Lightning,” says Star Cress Williams, calling it a series that “talks about things that need to be talked about,” and ” a powerful moment for us.”

11:38 AM: In the Dark star Perry Mattfeld makes sure to give a shout out to Guide Dogs of America, an organization that consulted on the new series, about a very sarcastic, very smart blind woman who is a  “total mess,” and her dog, Pretzel.

Lexi, who plays Pretzel on the series, was noticeably absent from the presentation. That’s because Lexi was not allowed into the country, what with being four-legged, and Lexi’s reps unable to get the actor the needed visa to travel from Toronto to New York City in the short window between official pickup last Friday and today’s Upfront event.

11:45 AM: Cast of new midseason series Roswell, New Mexico says their series is a “ove story about small town that just happens to have aliens…. and those who feel alienated.”

11:47 AM: Arrow will do another crossover, and will introduce a new character, Batwoman, CW announces. “This is the first time ever that Batwoman make a live-action appearance on any screen,” Pedowitz crows. Also added to the franchise, the City of Gotham.

11:51 AM:  Supernatural star Jared Padelecki jokes he thought he’d been promised he would be the only star named  Jared at CW’s upfront, a nod to Jared Leto’s opening performance.

11:53 AM: CW’s new Sunday, Supergirl and Charmed, will be a night of “powerful women,” Pedowitz says, nearing the end of his walk through the week. He gives a shout out to the network’s three sunsetting series: the  romzomcom iZombie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the fifth and final season of Jane the Virgin. “Jane has meant so much to CW over past few year, and the final chapter will be as funny, creative and poignant as ever,” he said of the series that won CW it’s first Golden Globe Award.

“So there you have it,” he begins to wrap up. A new six-night schedule….five new series, three for fall, two for midseason. CW, bigger and better than ever before, with more bold new series, providing more premium content six nights a week.”  Wishing advertisers a great summer, he wraps up Upfront Week for broadcaster.

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