So-so ratings for the planted Originals spinoff episode of The Vampire Diaries last night didn’t deter the CW from proceeding with the project as a series. The network just gave its first new-series order for next season to The Originals, which had enjoyed strong support among CW brass. Additionally, the network has given early renewals to sophomore drama Hart Of Dixie and freshman Beauty And The Beast, which join previously picked up The Vampire Diaries, Arrow and Supernatural. Missing from the list are Nikita, which still appears likely for a final 13-episode cycle, and The Carrie Diaries, also likely to get a renewal despite tame ratings. Beauty And The Beast too has been lagging in the ratings department, but the reboot of the 1980s series was a pet project for CW president Mark Pedowitz, and its renewal assures that there is one returning show on the CW schedule next season that hails from CBS TV Studios, one of the two studios that supply the network. Additionally, digital play weighs much heavier on the CW brass’ renewal decisions than other networks because of the CW’s rich deals with Netflix and Hulu.
The CW‘s midseason drama The Carrie Diaries wraps its 13-episode freshman season tonight. With its pedigree as an offshoot from one of most recognizable media franchises of the last 20 years, Sex And The City, it was expected to be a slam-dunk. Instead, Carrie Diaries started slow and is finishing its run on the bubble. But while its TV ratings alone would’ve likely pushed the series toward cancellation, Carrie Diaries‘ very strong online play including on Hulu is making the renewal a possibility. What’s more, besides the three shows the CW already cancelled this season — veteran 90210 and freshmen Emily Owens MD and Cult — there is a chance that the CW returns all of its other series including Hart Of Dixie, Nikita, Beauty And The Beast and Carrie Diaries in some shape or form, including limited runs. (The CW’s strongest series, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and veteran Supernatural, were already renewed in February.)
More than other networks’ series, the online performance of CW shows, most of which are serialized, plays an important part in the net’s renewal decisions. After all, episode streaming provides a key revenue stream for the CW. In addition to commercial-loaded play on the the network’s website, the CW’s current series are available on Hulu under a five-year, $75-million deal, while previous seasons of CW shows are on Netflix as part of the eye-popping four-year, $1 billion pact the two companies inked in late 2011. The Netflix deal in particular represents an incentive for the CW to keep shows on the air longer because that raises interest in previous seasons as evident by such current serialized cable series as Breaking Bad, whose older seasons became blockbuster hits on Netflix.
The CW has handed a full-season order to Beauty And The Beast. This is the second CW freshman series to get a back-nine order following the network’s pickup of Arrow last month. Beauty And The Beast has not been the breakout hit that Arrow has been but the show inched up in the ratings last night in total viewers and all key adult demos despite its lead-in, The Vampire Diaries, dipping a bit. Season to date, Beauty And The Beast, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, is averaging 2.4 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-34, according to “most current” Nielsen data. Ratings-wise, Beauty And The Beast ranks second behind Arrow among the CW’s new series. The third, Emily Owens MD, is still awaiting word on a back episodic order after receiving a three-script pickup last month. While it lags behind Beauty And The Beast, Emily Owens is handicapped by a weak lead-in from Hart Of Dixie vs. Vampire Diaries, which opens for Beauty And The Beast.
EXCLUSIVE: Sherri Cooper and Jennifer Levin, who wrote and are executive producing the CW’s Beauty And The Beast reboot, have signed an overall deal with CBS TV Studios, the studio behind the freshman series. The two-year pact will include Cooper and Levin’s services as executive producers/co-showrunners on Beauty And The Beast, which they run with Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The CW isn’t the kind of network that might have a propensity to assault its audience with ugly characters, which is why some were puzzled when it picked up a reboot of the 1980s CBS drama Beauty And The Beast for fall. But those attending TCA and have watched the pilot quickly learned that the home of Gossip Girl and young adults with flawless skin hasn’t deviated much from its focus on the physical. In fact, with stars Kristin Kreuk and hunky New Zealand native Jay Ryan, it was difficult to tell during a morning panel which of the two was supposed to be the beast. It more closely resembled Beauty and the Beef. The only real physical tipoff that something might be amiss with Ryan’s character Vincent is a small scar on his cheek. When this was pointed out to the show’s producers, they stressed that, well, the guy’s beastliness is supposed to be more…internal. “When we were first thinking about this, it was about the beast in our lives”, said exec producer Jennifer Levin, “and most of the beasts in our lives don’t look like an actual beast. They might be charming. There’s something that might draw us to them. So there is that thing of what happens when you do fall in love with a beast, which is what we related to much more than somebody who obviously was beastly from the outside. It was more beastliness that was on the inside. That was more interesting to us”.
NOTE: The network will release full trailers of all its shows in the next few days. The CW did provide clips of its fall-premiering shows.
Related: The CW’s 2012-13 Schedule: ‘Supernatural’ To Wednesday, ‘Top Model’ To Friday, Fall Launch Pushed To October
CW’s Arrow – Drama
Produced by Bonanza Productions in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros Television, based on characters appearing in comic books and graphic novels published by DC Comics. From executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg, and David Nutter, and co-executive producer Melissa Kellner Berman. Directed by David Nutter. Teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Marc Guggenheim, story by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim (pilot):
CW’s Beauty And The Beast – Drama
Produced by CBS Television Studios. From executive producers Jennifer Levin, Sherri Cooper, Bill Haber, Paul J. Witt & Tony Thomas, Ron Koslow and Gary Fleder:
I hear Beauty & The Beast, the CW‘s reboot of the 1980s series, is likely to snag the network’s marquee launching pad behind The Vampire Diaries on Thursday in the fall. The series, …
The CW has made five new drama series pickups, with all early standouts making the cut. That includes the Sex And The City prequel The Carrie Diaries, the Green Arrow-themed Arrow, the contemporary reboot of the 1980s series Beauty and the Beast, mystery Cult and medical drama First Cut starring Mamie Gummer.
Picking up five new scripted series is a record for the CW which, under new topper Mark Pedowitz, has vowed to increase the amount of originals on the air at any time, avoiding long spells of repeats. The CW also has been planning to employ the cable model of shorter seasons with some of its series, including Cult, which had been envisioned from the get-go as doing 13 episodes a season. There had been speculation that the CW would pick up as many as 5-6 of its eight pilots to series. The sixth drama pilot that had been in serious contention but did not get a nod today was the book adaptation The Selection whose chances were boosted by its similarities to the blockbuster Hunger Games movie franchise. Were those similarities too close for comfort?
The large number of new series pickups does not bode well for the CW many bubble series but a couple, like Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl and maybe Nikita, would likely make the cut. Studio-wise, three of the five new CW series, Carrie Diaries, Arrow and Cult, hail from Warner Bros. TV, the other two from CBS TV Studios. Two of the series are co-produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s WBTV-based Fake Empire, while Arrow is with Berlanti Prods.
There are two Beauty And The Beast pilots this season, one at ABC and one at the CW, with the search for actors to play the title roles among the most closely watched this season. In the end, none of the leads went to American actors. The title roles in the ABC Beauty And The Beast, which adheres closer to the classic fairy tale, went to young Irish actress Ruth Bradley (Grace aka Beauty) and Scottish singer-actor Darius Campbell (Shiro aka Beast). The CW pilot, based on the 1980s series, cast in the title roles Canadian beauty Kristin Kreuk (Catherine) and New Zealand-born Australian hunk Jay Ryan (Vincent). Of the four, only Smallville alumna Kreuk is a name in the U.S., while the other three are virtually unknown. Additionally, the ABC project has a third lead, a dashing prince, who will be played by Australian Chris Egan. It is true that Beauty And The Beast’s origins are not American — it started off as a French fairy tale — but it is closely associated with its most famous adaptation by Disney. Even though American screen adaptations of fairy tales tend to have some protagonists speak with a British accent, the complete shutout of American actors from the major characters in the two Beauty And The Beast projects is surprising. Especially after ABC’s hit fairytale series Once Upon A Time employs mostly American actors in the primary cast, including lead Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Lana Parrilla (Evil Queen) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming).
EXCLUSIVE: In the annals of pilot history, this will probably go down as one of the greatest oddities ever: director-producer Gary Fleder, executive producer of ABC’s Beauty And The Beast pilot, has come on board to direct the other Beauty And The Beast pilot at the CW. This adds an additional layer to the already strange coincidence of having two Beauty And The Beast projects with the same title picked up to pilot by 2 networks in the same season. Despite the identical title and origin — they can both be traced back to the classic fairytale and use loosely its mythology and archetypes — the two Beauty And The Beast projects are very different. The ABC/ABC Studios one, written by Jonathan E. Steinberg, is described as a fantasy realm adventure and a period reimagining of the fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world. The CW/CBS TV Studios version, written by Jennifer Levin & Sherri Cooper, is loosely based on the 1980s CBS series starring Linda Hamilton and is a modern-day romantic love story with a crime procedural element.