CW‘s new series Jane The Virgin, is not a straight adaptation of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana La Virgen - more telenovela meets Gilmore Girls, writer Jennie Snyder Urman told TV critics attending Summer TV Press Tour 2014. Jane The Virgin chronicles the story of aspiring writer Jane Villanueva, a virgin, who accidentally is artificially inseminated at a hospital, and subsequently struggles to navigate her relationships with the biological father, her boyfriend and her mother and grandmother.
“The show is a little less broad [than ABC's telenovela adaptation Ugly Betty],” Urman explained, calling it “the strange mark I’m trying to hit….I wanted it to have a fairy tale, whimsical quality.” At the same time, she hopes to use the tropes of the telenovela – “Evil twin” and things like that, while keeping the characters “grounded and relatable” which she acknowledged, is a “tricky tone” to pull off.
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The CW president Mark Pedowitz likes to set the tone for his TCA executive session with a music theme that plays while he is walking out. Today it was a Buena Vista Social Club tune in honor of the network’s new dramedy Jane The Virgin. Expectations are high for the charming comedic soap in the mold of Ugly Betty, which also put the CW on the list of networks with high marks on diversity this season. A couple of years ago, touting Beauty And The Beast‘s Kristin Kreuk as Asian American was the best Pedowitz could come up with when pressed on the whiteness of the network’s new series. Now, the network has a Latino family show. “I believe shows need to reflect what America looks like,” he said today.
Pedowitz was asked to lay out the distinction between BeautyAnd The Beast, which was renewed, and fellow bubble series Star-Crossed, The Carrie Diaries and The Tomorrow People that wasn’t. “Beauty And The Beast has a very engaged fan base, and it is a very profitable show,” Pedowitz said of the remake, which is a big international seller for sister studio CBS TV Studios. As for those that didn’t make the cut, Pedowitz admitted to having received 90 boxes of pasta from angry fans of cancelled alien romance Star-Crossed. Read More »
Here are the first looks at the CW‘s new dramas as part of the 2014-2015 series orders. The network has released trailers for The Flash and Jane The Virgin concurrent with its upfront presentation in New York. Still waiting on glimpses of midseason dramas iZombie and The Messengers. Check these out in the meantime:
Related: CW 2014 Fall Schedule
The Flash – Drama
Produced Bonanza Productions in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros TV based upon characters published by DC Entertainemnt. From writer/executive producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, director/executive producer David Nutter and executive producer Sarah Schechter.
Jane The Virgin – Comedy
Produced by CBS Television Studios. From writer/executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman, director/executive producer Brad Silberling and executive producers Ben Silverman, Gary Pearl and Jorge Granier.
CW chief Mark Pedowitz got on the phone this morning to talk to press tour reporters about his new schedule, which has just two new series for fall: Jane The Virgin – engaged virgin (Gina Rodriguez) gets artificially inseminated by accident at medical clinic — is paired with returning vampire/werewolf/witch drama The Originals on Mondays. And The Flash — guy acquires super-fast powers after run-in with cutting edge particle accelerator — is paired with 10th season of Supernatural on Tuesdays. Arrow, meanwhile, is back on Wednesdays, with post-apocalyptic drama The 100, The Vampire Diaries segues into crunchy gravel drama Reign on Thursdays, and improv comedy Whose Line Is It Anyway leads into America’s Next Top Model on Fridays.) Two new dramas are on the midseason bench: iZombie — pretty med student turned into a zombie when zombie feeding frenzy breaks out at a party — and The Messengers — scientist’s heart stops in New Mexico desert when mysterious objects falls to earth and explodes, linking her with four strangers. Also back in ’15: returning Hart Of Dixie and fantasy Beauty And The Beast.
Here’s how it went…
8:30 AM ET: “We had a really good year this year,” Pedowitz said by way of warming up the crowd. It’s CW’s most watched season in three years. The network will finish the season up in total viewers, up in 18-49, steady in 18-34 and with its highest concentration of young men yet. The crop of new series joining the slate will advance his goal for “more inclusive programming.”
Related: CW 2014 Fall Schedule: Few Changes, ‘The Flash’ Paired With ‘Supernatural’
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The CW split its new series orders between sister studios Warner Bros TV and CBS TV Studios, with two pickups for each. That includes DC Comics-themed The Flash, from Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, and iZombie, from Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, produced by Warner Bros TV, and soap Jane The Virgin, from Jennie Snyder Urman, and thriller The Messengers, produced by CBS TV Studios. The CW had been mulling picking up four or five new series depending on how many bubble series it would return — four new, three returning or five new and two returning. With The 100, Hart Of Dixie and Beauty And The Beast now renewed, the network went with four new series this season vs. five last season as it also previously renewed Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Supernatural, and Reign.
Related: CW Cancels ‘Tomorrow People’, ‘Star-Crossed’ & ‘Carrie Diaries’
Still, that gives CW a very good batting average of four out of six pilots going to series. (Fox scored a rare perfect record for a broadcast network this year with 3-for-3). Those that got a pass include terrorism/family drama Identity and the Supernatural planted spinoff Bloodlines. Unlike last year’s Vampire Diaries planted spinoff The Originals, Bloodlines did not feature characters from the original series, and the planted spinoff episode was met with mixed reaction.
Related: 2014 CW Pilots
The pickups bring more testosterone/genre fare to the CW with The Flash, iZombie and The Messengers and a soapy drama, Venezuelan telenovela adaptation Jane The Virgin, to join Reign and Hart Of Dixie as the network has been navigating the two directions for the past couple of years with emphasis on fantasy and sci-fi genres. Three of the new shows come from well-known CW creators: Arrow‘s Berlanti and Kreisberg, Veronica Mars‘ Thomas, and Emily Owens MD‘s Urman. Here are descriptions of CW’s newly picked up series: Read More »
Andrea Parker (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Feed Me, from Witt-Thomas and Universal TV. Written by Sally Robinson and starring Mary-Louise Parker, it centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and the restaurant they run together. Andrea Parker will play Amanda, the angry, spiteful and vengeful ex-wife of John (Ed Quinn) who’s been dragging out their divorce for five years and is determined to make his life miserable. APA-repped Parker recurs on Pretty Little Liars.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
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Wrapping a very strong development season, Jennie Snyder Urman has re-upped her overall deal at CBS Television Studios for three more years. Urman, who previously created the CW drama Emily Owens, MD for the studio, sold three projects this season — two of which, drama Jane The Virgin at the CW, based on the popular telenovela, and comedy Sober Companion at Fox, were picked up to pilot. Both are considered high-profile contenders, with Sober Companion boasting a cast led by Nick Frost and Justin Long. “Jennie’s had a remarkable pilot season, selling a comedy as well as a very unique twist on the most popular genre in the world, the telenovela,” said CBS TV Studios president David Stapf. “There is truly nothing she can’t do. Jennie is one of the most versatile, inventive writers and showrunners working today and we feel very fortunate that CBS will continue to be her home for years and years to come.”
Related: Dave Hemingson Inks Overall Deal With ABC Studios
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Coming off his directorial debut on Sundance pic Hits, David Cross has been tapped as a guest star on Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series created by Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Jane Krakowski), who is wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and is forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Cross will play Derek Bridges, the narcissistic, credit-stealing, misogynistic “dead boss”. He is with UTA, BEP and attorney Harris Hartman.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
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John Cho (Star Trek Into Darkness) is set as the male lead opposite Karen Gillan in ABC/Warner Bros TV single-camera comedy pilot Selfie, written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Julie Anne Robinson. It centers on Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan), a self-obsessed, twentysomething who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. Cho will play Henry, a self-assured marketing expert who decides to “re-market” his co-worker Eliza (Gillan), a social media star with a bad reputation. Cho, repped by UTA and Morris Yorn Barnes, will next be seen in Star Trek 3. Other credits include Total Recall and the Harold & Kumar franchise.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
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The CW wants to stay in business with Israeli actress Yael Grobglas. The network first cast the virtual unknown last year as the lead in drama pilot The Selection, and she recently finished a six-episode arc on Reign. Now the CW has tapped Grobglas again, this time for Jane The Virgin, which also has added Brett Dier (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid) and Andrea Navedo (One Life To Live). Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin centers on Jane (Gina Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. Grobglas, with UTA, Thruline and attorney Jamie Feldman, will play Monica, who is left reeling when her husband’s sperm is used to inseminate the wrong girl. Dier, repped by Gersh and Red Talent Management, will play Michael, a cop and Jane’s steadfast boyfriend who has secrets of his own. Navedo will play Xiomara, Jane’s mother, who is fiercely devoted to her daughter. Mexican actor-singer-heartthrob Jaime Camil aslo co-stars in his U.S. pilot debut. Navedo, repped by LEG Management, Hardin-Curtis Associates, and attorney Jeff Endlich, appeared in indie Last I Heard and can be seen in the upcoming feature Superfast.
Related: 2014 The CW Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: Mexican actor-singer-heartthrob Jaime Camil is making his US pilot debut with a co-starring role opposite Gina Rodriguez in the CW‘s drama Jane The Virgin. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. International telenovela star Camil will play the series regular role of Rubio, who happens to be a world-famous telenovela star with a surprising connection to Jane. Camil, who is coming off back-to-back hit Spanish-language series in Mexico and the U.S. with Que Pobres Ran Ricos and Poy Ella Soy Eva, is currently seen on Univision’s new rom-com novela, Qué Pobres Tan Ricos. He made a successful feature debut in the US as the star of bilingual Patelion/Lionsgate hit Pulling Strings, which ranked as the third highest-grossing foreign language film of 2013. Additionally, a recent guest appearance by Camil on Devious Maids delivered strong ratings for the Lifetime series, which also has Latin roots. Jane the Virgin, from CBS Studios, is written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Brad Silberling. Camil is with ROAR, WME and attorney James Mandelbaum.
Filly Brown star Gina Rodriguez is set to topline the CW‘s drama pilot Jane The Virgin, in keeping with the project’s Latin roots. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin, from CBS Studios, centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. Jennie Snyder Urman wrote the adaptation and is executive producing with Electus’ Ben Silverman as well as Gary Pearl and Jorge Granier. Brad Silberling, who directed the pilot for CW/CBS Studios drama Reign last season, has been tapped to direct. Last year, Rodriguez was cast in Fox drama pilot Wild Blue and had a talent holding deal with ABC the previous season. She is with APA, Intellectual Artists and Jackoway Tyerman.
Related: 2014 The CW Pilots
UPDATE 4 PM: One of the most buzzed about projects at the CW this season, Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s drama adaptation of DC‘s iZombie, also has received an official pilot green light. This puts the CW, which carried the final season of Veronica Mars, back in business with the series’ creator Thomas in a big way as he also is doing a Veronica Mars spinoff digital series for the network. Written by frequent collaborators Thomas and Ruggiero based on the characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint,. iZombie, from Warner Bros TV and Rob Thomas Prods, is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head. Thomas and Rugierro, who co-wrote together the upcoming Veronica Mars movie, are executive producing with Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge. This marks the fourth order for … Read More »