The CW president Mark Pedowitz has something for the Orwellian year 1984. In his first TCA appearance in 2011, he walked onstage to Alphaville’s 1984 hit Forever Young. Today he took the TCA podium to Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 anthem Born In the U.S.A. to present the CW’s midseason slate anchored by Sex And The City prequel The Carrie Diaries, which too is set in 1984.
Pedowitz said he likes “the simplicity of 1980s” and believes that the nostalgia factor will bring older audiences to Carrie Diaries. He has no problem with that, stressing that broadening out the CW audience has been a priority for the CW and is reflected in the network’s fourth quarter ratings where the CW was virtually flat in the core 18-34 demo and up in total viewers. And Pedowitz said he was actually flattered by NBC topper Bob Greenblatt’s jab during the NBC TCA session that the CW’s median age has risen above 41 years. “I’d like to thank Bob for giving us a shout out for doing what we set out to do,” Pedowitz said.
He did take a shot at Nielsen though, remarking that “I think they missed the boat in 18-34,” not being able to capture a large portion of the viewing done by younger people on digital devices.
The CW’s longest-running show currently on the air, veteran drama Supernatural, has a good shot at extending its run. “We are pleased with how Wednesday night has done this fall with Arrow and Supernatural. Supernatural has gained back viewers, creatively the show is in great shape. There is always a good shot that it will come back.”
Pedowitz suggested that 90210 would also return, possibly for a final hurray. “I am a big believer in giving fans a very satisfactory conclusion,” he said. “It’s something that we as a television industry need to do.”
On Hart Of Dixie: “We’re very pleased where it is going creatively.”
While the CW is yet to order its first pilot this season, it already has a serious contender for next fall in The Originals, a Vampire Diaries backdoor pilot centered on Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and the Original family of vampires living in New Orleans. “You’ll have the melting pot of New Orleans and deal with a lot of voodoo and everything that goes with it,” Pedowitz said, adding that he is a “big believer that if you have something that works you can use it incubate other shows.”
A retooled version of Selection is back where the project was exactly a year ago — in contention for a pilot pickup. “The script just came in and it is very well done,” Pedowitz said.
Also awaiting word is Amazon, the proposed Wonder Woman origins drama, which is doing preliminary casting of the lead. “We’re waiting to see the script and are busy casting Diana,” Pedowitz said.
One project that is not happening is previously rumored adaptation of the Japanese film Battle Royale. The explanation of what happened with the project was vintage Pedowitz, with his attorney pedigree on full display. “Nothing occurred and it predated the current events that occurred.”
Also on the back burner is the CW’s effort to bring comedies back to the network’s schedule as the emphasis continues to be on stabilizing the lineup with dramas. “I’m getting more comfortable with it,” Pedowitz said. “Our schedule is stabilizing, so in ’13-’14, we’ll continue our development and hopefully by ’14-’15 we’ll be able to put some on.”
Digital distribution is increasingly important to the CW. About 20% of the network’s audience comes from streaming and VOD. Additionally, the network is ramping up its original development for online with comedy series. Upcoming projects include the animated Gallery Mallery, about an overeducated young girl taking a low-level job at an art gallery, whose guest cast includes CW stars Justin Hartley and Misha Collins and another one with Wilson Bethel, star of the CW digital live-action series Stupid Hype.
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