The CW President Mark Pedowitz has been upped to Chairman and CЕО of тhe network, a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and ViacomCBS. Along with the promotion, Pedowitz has signed a new multi-year contract to continue to oversee all creative and business aspects of the network.
The new title is reflective of how Pedowitz’s job — and the network — have grown in the past nine years.
Pedowitz joined the CW as President in spring 2011 amid rampant speculation that the money-losing network may shut down. Since then, Pedowitz has spearheaded the building and broadening the network’s audience, bringing in more older and male viewers and establishing a formidable DC Universe franchise on the network.
Under Pedowitz, the CW has ramped up the volume of original programming to 18 scripted series throughout the year currently, double the amount he inherited. To accommodate that, the network last season reclaimed Sunday as a night of originals. The CW also expanded into summer with original programming. This week, the CW gave early renewal to all 13 of its current scripted series that are not ending this season.
Pedowitz also helped set a digital and social strategy for the network, which became an early adopter of AVOD, making its programming available through the CW app on the digital platforms preferred by its target younger viewers while also protecting its ad dollars by putting its shows online with a full commercial load. He also oversaw the launch of The CW’s digital channel, CW Seed, with acquired and short-form original programming.
Under Pedowitz, the CW broke into the awards circle with Golden Globe wins for the network’s comedy series Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
By increasing the volume of originals and ordering binge-friendly serialized dramas, Pedowitz created value for the two studios that supply it, Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios, and their parent companies which had more series to sell internationally and to off-network/streaming. The CW series are among the most popular acquired content on Netflix, leading to the SVOD giant shelling $1 billion to WBTV and CBS TV Studios for library rights to the CW shows in 2016. In light of the CW series’ strong digital performance, WBTV and CBS Studios last year opted not to renew the Netflix output deal but put the new CW series they produce on their companies’ own streaming platforms or take them out on the open market individually.
At that time, Pedowitz secured for the network full in-season digital rights to all new of the network’s scripted series going forward for viewers to catch up on CWTV.com or The CW app.
The promotion also recognizes Pedowitz’s steady hand. During a time when the CW original co-owners, Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. went through turbulence, getting acquired by AT&T (as part of Time Warner) and merged with Viacom, respectively, while also both dealing with sexual harassment controversies and executive shakeups, the CW has been an island of stability.
Over the past few years, the CW has increased its commitment to inclusive programming and representation in front of and behind the camera. The network was recently named by GLAAD the most LGBTQ+ inclusive broadcast network; its scripted series this season feature regulars that are more than 50% persons of color, with two-thirds of the executive producers, directors and writers women and/or people of color.
“I am proud of our commitment to inclusiveness and diversity,” Pedowitz said. “We also were a pioneer and have become the preeminent multi-platform player in the AVOD space with a strong presence on social media.”
A veteran network and television studio executive, Pedowitz previously served as President of ABC Studios and as EVP ABC Entertainment TV Group, overseeing all business, production, legal and financial affairs for ABC Primetime and Touchstone Television, as well as business/legal affairs for ABC Daytime and Late Night. Before joining ABC in 1991 as SVP, Business Affairs and Contracts, Pedowitz was SVP, Business Affairs and Administration, MGM/UA Television Production Group, VP, Business Affairs and General Counsel, The Landsburg Company and VP, Business Affairs, Reeves Entertainment.