As it has done in the past couple of years, the CW has given early renewals to its strongest series. The list includes flagship dramas The Vampire Diaries and Arrow, formidable veteran Supernatural and freshmen The …
CW Gives Early Renewals To ‘Arrow’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Reign’ & ‘The Originals’
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.”
Last month, the CW gave all of its new fall series orders for additional scripts at the same time. And now the network is keeping its freshman class intact, giving all three series, dramas The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign, full-season orders. The Originals has been one of the success stories this fall. The Vampire Diaries spinoff, which opened so-so after the mothership series, has thrived in the Tuesday 8 PM slot, averaging 0.9 among adults 18-49 and over 2 million viewers in Live+same day. Despite being the only one of the newbies to air without an established lead-in, it is the highest rated of the bunch. The other two, The Tomorrow People and Reign, both have been very stable, logging a 0.6 18-49 rating for the past few weeks, Reign even maintaining the rating when its lead-in, TVD, plummeted because of a New York pre-emption. The CW’s new shows also have been strong DVR and digital performers. The network’s digital streaming of full episodes is up 50% season to date versus last season, and The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign see 84% more digital viewing than The CW’s new series last fall. The soapy Reign and similarly female skewing sophomore The Carrie Diaries have been getting particularly strong traction in digital viewing.
The CW has ordered three additional scripts of each of its three new fall series — dramas The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign. The script pickups come after two airings of The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, one of The Tomorrow People and a week ahead of Reign‘s premiere next Thursday. (It was pushed because of tonight’s Cory Monteith episode of Glee.) They also come as the writers of the three series are completing work on the original 13-episode orders. The script orders follow solid showings from The Originals, which premiered to a solid 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.9 million total viewers in its regular Tuesday 8 PM slot this week after a launch behind TVD, and from The Tomorrow People, which logged a 0.9 and 2.7 million viewers in its debut last night (adjusted up in the finals), matching its lead-in, the Arrow second season premiere.
The most CBS-ish new series of the 2013-14 TV season got off to a strong start last night, while the most NBC-like new series floundered. Nothing new there. Lucky for NBC, it aired the CBS-ish one — the new procedural crime drama The Blacklist, starring James Spader. Unfortunately for CBS, it aired the NBC-like, highly serialized event series that bellyflopped in same time slot as The Blacklist — the Toni Collette-Dylan McDermott starrer Hostages.
Once upon a time, long before DVRs, Netflix and original scripted cable programing, broadcast network execs eagerly anticipated the start of their new TV season to see which of the many, many new series they’d thrown against the wall would stick. These days, each network has one key new series it needs to work — really work, not “Vegas is the No. 1 new drama” work — to call a season successful.
ABC, for instance, needs to launch Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. If it clicks, nothing else matters. Super Fun Night? It can bomb — which is good because ABC has already decided to premiere the show with its second episode and that’s never a good sign. And Lucky 7 may be the series that demonstrates America will not watch a show about how winning the lottery messes you up — because that is their financial strategy. Weeks before S.H.I.E.L.D.’s scheduled unveiling, The Reporters Who Cover Television were already squealing with delight after being treated to its super-secret screening at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013, though there have been disturbing reports of subsequent scripts coming in so not-good that Joss Whedon had to take a break from the 85 other projects he’s working on to step in and do last-minute rewrites.
NBC, meanwhile, needs a 10 PM drama that isn’t flukey, isn’t serializes and doesn’t start to come apart at the seams in the second half of the season, like Revolution did last season. No matter how much you read about NBC badly needing to re-establish itself in comedy on Thursday nights (it’s over, get over it), Monday at 10 is NBC’s Must Fix TV. A Blacklist hit gives NBC the bright shiny 10 o’clock light with which to dazzle affiliate station execs grousing about the lousy lead-ins they’ve been getting for their late local news. The Blacklist needs to look as good ratings-wise, five or six weeks from now, as it did last night.
The CW has revealed the key art designs for its three new fall series The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign. Check them out: Vampire Diaries‘ spinoff The Originals centers on Vampire‘s original family members Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt) as they find a new home in New Orleans, a city now run by Klaus’s former protégée Marcel (Charles Michael Davis). The key art features Morgan (back center), Gillies (back right), Holt (back left) and Davis (front seated).
Times being what they are CW execs went into their half-day at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 braced for some scorched-earth questioning about the teenage-girl-masturbating-in-castle-hall scene of the network’s first crunchy-gravel drama Reign, which purports to be a drama series about the teen years of Mary Stuart (aka Mary Queen of Scots). Imagine their surprise when, instead, they found themselves being grilled with questions about the show’s historical inaccuracies. Reign is enormously important to CW this fall; the network will use its biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries to launch Reign on Thursday nights because VD is CW’s most viewed series among young women. Bodice-ripper Reign takes enormous liberties with the 16th century history of Mary Queen of Scots. As told by CW, Mary arrives in France to marry the French king’s hot son, Prince Francis. In the real world, Francis was a sickly young teen who died after less than two years on the throne. The CW’s Francis, however, is a hunky guy who has a “history” with a lady of the court which, of course, was hardly worth mentioning back in those days but looms large, plot-development-wise, in 2013. Adding to the fun, Mary is also attracted to Francis’ “roguish” illegitimate half-brother, Bash — who never existed, notes the actor playing him, Torrance Coombs.
“In each episode we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story,” exec producer Laurie McCarthy explained this morning when one of the early what-the-heck history questions came in. “There is a certain amount of latitude,” she acknowledged. “It’s TV so, you know, we can take creative license with it,” chimed in star Adelaide Kane, adding, “It’s entertainment – it’s not the History Channel.” And how cute is she that she thinks History Channel still is about history?
UPDATE: Reign and Oxygen from CBS TV Studios also just got picked up, bringing the total number of new CW series for next season for five, including The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals. The only remaining question is whether The Selection, which never found its footing, is dead. (UPDATE: It is. Click here for more.)
PREVIOUS: The CW also entered the pickup fray with series orders to drama pilots The Tomorrow People and The 100. Both have been frontrunners, coming from Warner Bros TV. The Tomorrow People is executive produced by Julie Plec and Greg Berlanti, meaning that Plec will have three series on the CW next season, The Vampire Diaries, spinoff The Originals and The Tomorrow People. Berlanti will have two, The Tomorrow People and Arrow.
Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows:
Torrance Coombs To Co-Star In CW Pilot ‘Reign’, Thomas McDonell Joins ‘The 100′, Lane Garrison Cast In ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Mini
Torrance Coombs (The Tudors) has landing a lead role in the CW’s drama pilot Reign, from CBS TV Studios. It chronicles the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis (Toby Regbo), and with her best friends as ladies-in-waiting. Coombs, repped by D2 Management and King Talent on Vancouver, will play Sebastian, Francis’ resourceful illegitimate half brother, a favorite son of King Henry II and his most favored mistress, Diane de Poitiers. He offers Mary some sage advice.
Beau Bridges is set as a lead in CBS‘ untitled Greg Garcia multi-camera comedy pilot. The project, written and executive produced by Garcia, centers on Jack (Will Arnett), a recently divorced guy whose life gets more complicated when his parents have marital problems of their own. Their mother (Margo Martindale) moves in with Will, while their father (Bridges) moves in with Will’s sister Debbie (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and her husband.