Like Nina Tassler, who runs sibling network CBS, the CW President Mark Pedowitz too plans to stick with the traditional pilots season despite Fox’s decision to abandon the model, announced by chairman Kevin Reilly on Monday. “We do not do that many pilots,” he noted. Indeed, the biggest complaint about pilot season has been the pressure to cast and produce so many pilots in so little time, chasing the same talent. The CW makes about eight pilots, about a third of the number most of the Big 4 networks, and the network doesn’t go for the same actors as its shows feature younger characters mostly cast with up-and-coming actors. Pedowitz also talked up the CW’s high pilot-to-series ratio, which is closer to a cable network than a broadcaster. In moving away from pilot season, Reilly said he was hoping to improve the network’s batting average, with fewer pilots and most of them going to series. In the CW’s two development seasons under Pedowitz, the network made eight pilots each year, with four of them going to series in 2012 and five in 2013, a very high percentage for a broadcaster. “For us it’s a very efficient system, and you learn things that you would never have seen otherwise,” Pedowitz said. “We are perfectly happy with the traditional system but wish Kevin well.”
The CW came to TCA this morning to announce it had bought a barbershop competition series hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, a magician reality series hosted by Penn & Teller, and a four-hour event series about the Holy Grail.
Barber Battle visits different barbershops across the country in each of its 10 episodes. The most talented barbers will compete to showcase their artistry — from portraits to landmarks to ballparks — on someone’s head. Judges, locations and contestants will be announced later. Cedric exec produces along with Mark Efman (Charlemagne & Friends, A&E Biographies).
On each of the nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, aspiring magicians are invited to perform their best trick. Anyone who succeeds in fooling Penn & Teller wins the right to perform with them at their show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A live studio audience and viewers watch along with Penn & Teller as they try to figure out the secrets. Penn & Teller see the trick only once and have to try to work it out immediately. British television and radio personality Jonathan Ross (Friday Night With Jonathan Ross) serves as host. Penn & Teller: Fool Us is created and produced by 117 Productions and September Films (part of DCD Media) for ITV, with executive producers Peter Adam Golden and Andrew Golder, David Green and Peter Davey.
UPDATED: Speaking at CBS’ TCA presentation yesterday, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves was asked about the sustainability of the CW as a business given its low ratings. “The CW as an entity may lose …
Like most other broadcasters this upfront week, CW execs today urged advertisers to consider the network’s involvement with digital platforms — and announced that its streamed shows, now available on Windows and Xbox, will also work with Apple TV. …
CW’s Mark Pedowitz On ‘Selection’, ‘Battle Royale’ Development Plans, Digital Route With Comedy, Shorter Drama Orders: TCA
The CW remains high on the concept of young people battling each other. The network last season developed the Hunger Games-esque The Selection, an adaptation of Kiera Cass’ book. The project went to pilot but didn’t make the cut to series. “I’m a big believer (in the concept)”, the CW’s president Mark Pedowitz said during the CW’s TCA executive session. “The producers did a very good job, but it wasn’t where we wanted to be tone-wise, we wanted it to have a Hunger Games/Game Of Thrones-type tone.” Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, who wrote the original pilot, are back rewriting it.
While Selection is still in the works, the CW also is looking to put a development a series version of the 2000 cult Japanese movie Battle Royale, Pedowitz confirmed, stressing that talks are very preliminary. The film is about a group of school children sent to an island where, on the government’s orders, they must kill each other until one remains. Asked about the rationale behind going after such a violent premise involving school-age kids shooting and killing other kids, especially in the current environment, Pedowitz said that “we’re not planning anything that we cannot get on the air; we won’t go in that direction.”
After the session, Pedowitz noted that his team is in conversation with Warner Bros TV about more projects based on DC properties to join new drama Arrow. “Even if Arrow does not work — and I hope it does work for a lot of reasons — we plan to continue developing comic characters,” he said.
The CW continues to be interested in bringing back comedy series to the network, but the plan is being put on the back burner until “we stabilize the schedule,” Pedowitz said. Last season, the network developed eight half-hour scripts. It held onto two of them — an adaptation of the 2009 British comedy FM and the Craig Zadan- and Neil Meron-produced Swordfighting – for midseason consideration. Now Pedowitz said there will be no movement on the comedy front until after the CW fall lineup premieres but the network will continue to selectively buy comedy pitches. He also said that, instead of going down the traditional pilot route, “we may do it through digital,” testing comedies online before making a decision whether to migrate them to TV.
Doing yet another postmortem on cancelled Sarah Michelle Gellar drama Ringer, Pedowitz noted that “22 episodes a season may be too many” for a heavily serialized drama, with six or 13 probably more manageable. (New CW serialized drama Cult will run a 13-episode first season.) Pedowitz also repeated his statement from the upfront that the CW has invited Gellar to come back to the network as an actress or producer.
Pedowitz was asked about the CW’s ratings woes (the network recently earned a 0.0 overnight rating for a repeat of 90210). He reiterated that overnight ratings have little meaning for the network. “We look at it through an aggregation, (including digital platforms)”, he said. “We can measure who’s watching us on digital, but it does not count with the Nielsen ratings.”
As it promised at its upfront presentation in May, the CW will premiere its fall lineup in October, starting the Tuesday after the official premiere week. The network will roll out its fall schedule over two weeks, from October 2 through October 19. When the CW made the original announcement, the network’s president Mark Pedowitz explained the decision with the desire to wait until viewers have sampled the new offerings on the other broadcast networks. But that probably won’t be the case exactly as NBC and Fox both unveiled staggered fall launches that span from mid- August-mid September to mid-late October. (CBS, which usually sticks to the premiere week tradition, is yet to announce its fall launch dates.) Here is is the CW’s fall premiere schedule:
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2
8-9 PM HART OF DIXIE (Season Premiere)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3
9-10 PM SUPERNATURAL (Season Premiere)
With a new management regime and new upfront venue at New York City Center, the CW symbolically opened its presentation with “Let it Roll (Good Times)”, a new song by Flo Rida who did a medley to …
The CW’s 2012-13 Schedule: ‘Supernatural’ To Wednesday, ‘Top Model’ To Friday, Fall Launch Pushed To October
The CW is adding five new drama series for 50 extra original hours to its 2012-13 primetime schedule. The network has always tried to avoid the mayhem of broadcast premiere week in late September, but that has mostly included premiering shows earlier, something that contributed to the network’s woes of having to air long stretches of repeats during the season. This time, in what network president Mark Pedowitz calls a “transformative season” for the CW, the network will “strategically” roll out its fall lineup in early October. It hopes to keep the lights on until then with the CW’s first-ever summer schedule featuring a slew of originals.
Related: CW Upfront Presentation: Live Blog
The CW is introducing three of its five new dramas – Arrow, Beauty And The Beast and Emily Owens, MD (formerly First Cut) — in the fall. The other two – Cult, which always was envisioned to have cable-type shorter seasons, and The Carrie Diaries — are joining in midseason.
The CW is making a lot of scheduling moves. After two seasons on Friday, most recently pitted against similarly male-skewing sci-fi-tinged Fringe and Grimm, Supernatural is moving to Wednesday paired with new drama Arrow. Supernatural has performed best when airing behind the Smallville, so putting it behind another series based on a DC character seems promising for the sci-fi veteran, which has not had a suitable, male-appeal companion since the departure of Smallville.
After eight seasons on Wednesday going back to its days on UPN, veteran reality series America’s Next Top Model is moving to Friday. That also appears logical given the franchise’s ratings erosion this season. Top Model is paired with Nikita, which is getting the lead-in support it was lacking this season.
Reuniting on Mondays are 90210 and Gossip Girl in its final 11-season season. It will be succeed in midseason by The Carrie Diaries. Hart Of Dixie, which launched behind Gossip Girl this season, is taking over 90210‘s Tuesday 8 PM anchor position, paired with another medical drama with a female lead, newbie Emily Owens, MD.
Flagship drama The Vampire Diaries is being used as a launching pad for another series about an unconventional love story, Beauty And the Beast, a reboot of the 1980s series.
THE CW’s 2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
8:00-9:00 PM 90210 (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM GOSSIP GIRL (New Time)
THE CARRIE DIARIES premieres January, 2013
8:00-9:00 PM HART OF DIXIE (New Night)
9:00-10:00 PM EMILY OWENS, M.D. (New Series)
EXCLUSIVE: J.J. Abrams is headed to the CW. In his first stint at the 5-year-old network, the top writer-producer-director has teamed up with Mark Schwahn, creator/executive producer/showrunner of the CW’s long-running drama One Tree Hill. The power pair has sold a hotel drama to the CW, which will instantly become one of the the network’s highest-profile projects this development season. Schwahn will write the show, tentatively titled Maine, which is set at an inn in Maine and revolves around the staff and the inn’s guests. Abrams and Schwahn will executive produce with Bryan Burk for Warner Bros TV, Abrams’ studio-based Bad Robot and Schwahn’s Mastermind Laboratories. In scope, the character-based drama, which has received a script commitment, harkens to Schwahn’s OTH, which will end its nine-year run early next year, and Abrams’ Felicity. This also marks a homecoming of sorts for Abrams, who started his TV career on the CW predecessor the WB with Felicity. For Schwahn, the project stems from a script deal with WBTV.
The CW’s new head of marketing is… Rick Haskins. The network’s outgoing marketing chief has agreed to stay on in a new, expended role. Haskins, whose full title was EVP Digital, New Technologies, Marketing and Brand Strategy, has been upped to EVP, Marketing and Digital Programs, a new position in which he will continue to report to the CW president Mark Pedowitz.
In his new role, Haskins will continue to spearhead all aspects of the network’s marketing and digital initiatives, as he has done since the network’s inception. Additionally, he will oversee the development and production of original digital entertainment content for The CW’s online, mobile and social media platforms. The CW has created some original content for online and social media in the past, but that will now become a big concerted effort that will include both digital extensions of the network’s series and new standalone programming. Haskins is opening the doors for pitches and is casting a wide net for longform or shortform, scripted or unscripted, weekly or even daily programs. The CW just received a cash infusion through its deals with Netflix and Hulu, with portion of the money earmarked for boosting the network’s development funds. Some of the projects will likely be produced in conjunction with Studio 2.0, the digital division of the CW corporate sibling and major supplier Warner Bros. TV. “We are looking for new talent, people who have had a passion project that would be better suited as a digital, not TV program,” Haskins said. Still, some of the shows that start online could transition to TV.
In one fell swoop, The CW has given full-season orders to all of its three freshmen series. Following the pickup of Ringer earlier today, the network also has given back-nine orders to fellow rookies Hart Of Dixie and The Secret Circle. None of the three have been breakout hits for the CW, but network president Mark Pedowitz indicated that it was less the series’ ratings performance and more their long-term potential that drove the pickup decision. “We believe in the creative strength of these dramas, and by giving them back nine orders we can give our audience the chance to enjoy complete seasons of all three of them,” he said. “With compelling storylines, engaging characters and tremendous buzz, we firmly believe that Hart Of Dixie, Ringer and The Secret Circle can become signature series for The CW, the kind of top-notch shows that are synonymous with our brand.” The CW had been in bad shape in the ratings, down 36% in adults 18-39 to a 0.7 in the Live+Same Day numbers for premiere week. But when the Live+7 numbers for the season’s opening week came out yesterday, the network shot up 43% to a 1.0 to erase the declines and then some.
We are at the tail end of a TV selling season that saw more bidding wars and production and put pilot commitments than I can remember, and that isn’t lost on the broadcast entertainment presidents. Survivor‘s Jeff Probst opened the discussion at the annual Hollywood Radio & Television Society network chiefs luncheon today by sharing that during his lunch with the executives before they took the stage, everyone was complaining about how crazy and out of whack this pitch season has been. Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who spoke his mind more than anyone else on the panel, quickly jumped in. “(NBC) got cash, (ABC) got competitive against that cash, and we took the bait,” is how Reilly summed up this year’s marketplace. “We all think we were played a little bit. Agents are doing very well this year as a result.” Reilly’s counterparts mostly agreed, though their responses were more measured. “It’s been very, very frantic this year,” CBS’ Nina Tassler said. She blamed media coverage for the increased intensity of the pitch season. “Every single thing that happens is now being reported, from a pitch to speculation on the terms of a deal, and that does absolutely impact the business.” Added NBC’s Jennifer Salke: “I get the email about a media inquiry while the producer is still in the parking lot. That adds to the frenzy.” But it wasn’t all bad this buying season, ABC’s Paul Lee said. “There was also a rush of new energy, with a lot of new people and new ideas; there was lot of ambition in the projects coming in,” he said.
EXCLUSIVE: Less than a week after new CW president Mark Pedowitz indicated that the network will be open to comedies this development season, the CW has made its first half-hour buy, Todd Graff’s summer camp comedy Acting Out, executive …
Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season.
The symbolic passing of the baton at the CW was done today at the network’s upfront presentation, which featured both outgoing entertainment president Dawn Ostroff and newly appointed president Mark Pedowitz. “I’m sorry to say that this is my last CW upfront,” Ostroff said in her intro. “We’re moving to New York, so look out, my husband and I, our four kids and two dogs may become your neighbors.” She introduced Pedowitz, who was upbeat in his short speech before bouncing things back to Ostroff, who laid out the schedule for next season. “I believe in the The CW, its people, its programming, its affiliate body and advertisers,” Pedowitz said. “I love its enormous growth opportunity.” It was very classy for the CW to introduce new topper Pedowitz but let Ostroff do the main presentation, a far cry from other broadcast executive changeovers pre-upfront, like the appointment of Steve McPherson at ABC a few years back, when the new person takes all the credit and their predecessor is not even mentioned at the presentation. So when Ostroff said, “I’m going to assure you that the transition will be a seamless one,” for once it didn’t sound like just an executive cliche.
After month-long negotiations, veteran TV executive-turned-producer Mark Pedowitz today was named president of the CW. The former ABC Studios president and top ABC business affairs executive is starting today. As his title suggests, he is not a direct replacement …