As movie sequels dominate the box office with more than 30 slated this year alone, including Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2 and Hangover 3, television too is increasingly relying on expanding TV franchises. In a symbolic move, as the last CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, bowed out this season, a record three new spinoff series are joining the broadcast schedule for next season: The Once Upon A Time spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, The Vampire Diaries offshoot The Originals on the CW, and Chicago Fire‘s Chicago PD on NBC. They will join returning spinoffs NCIS: LA and Law & Order: SVU. Of the four spinoff projects that were in consideration for next season, only one, CBS’ NCIS: Red, didn’t get a series pickup. “Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t,” CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said last week about the decision. “Protecting (the NCIS franchise) was really important.” She indicated that the network is open to trying the spinoff again. Indeed, I hear there is talk about revisiting NCIS: Red with a new cast.
Once a staple in comedy with All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Guy among the slew of hit series to launch spinoffs, offshoots are primarily limited to drama these days. NBC tried to break the trend with The Office this season, but the proposed spinoff didn’t take off. And, eager to capitalize on their successful series, the networks tend to spin them off earlier then ever. Chicago Fire had been on the air less than a season when NBC plotted the Chicago PD spinoff. Once Upon A Time is launching a spinoff only two seasons into its run. In the past, the networks normally waited at least four seasons for a series to establish itself before launching an offshoot. The major exception was the CSI franchise whose expansion was done methodically, adding a new series every two years.
Spinoffs are not as prevalent on cable where they’re mostly used as an attempt to extend the life of a hit series after it ends, like Battlestar Galactica‘s offshoot Caprica on Syfy, The Closer‘s Major Crimes on TNT and the Breaking Bad spinoff in the works at AMC.
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.
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The Original family of vampires will remain intact in their leap from The Vampire Diaries to their own series, planted spinoff The Originals. Claire Holt has been cast as a lead in Originals, which will be introduced in the April 25 episode of the CW drama. She will reprise her recurring TVD role as Rebekah, the vampire sister of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Elijah (Daniel Gillies). The trio represents all surviving Original siblings as their two other brothers recently faced their demise on TVD. Holt had been rumored to join The Originals from the get-go, but I’d heard talks hit a snag and TVD‘s Phoebe Tonkin was signed for the potential spinoff instead. Now Holt, who just signed with CAA, becomes the fourth cast member of the original series to transition to the spinoff. Read More »
Danielle Campbell (Prison Break) is the latest new regular cast in the potential Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, which will be introduced in the April 25 episode of the CW drama. Written by TVD … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Charles Michael Davis (The Game) is set to co-star opposite The Vampire Diaries‘ Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gillies and Phoebe Tonkin in the potential spinoff The Originals, which will be introduced in the April 25 episode of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Daniella Pineda (Fitzgerald Family Christmas) has landed a regular role in the potential Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, which will be introduced as an upcoming episode of TVD that airs April 25. The Originals stars … Read More »
Another Vampire Diaries standout is headed to the potential spinoff series. Daniel Gillies is set to star opposite Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin in The Originals, which will be introduced as an upcoming episode of … Read More »
The CW is piloting The Originals, a potential spinoff of the network’s flagship series The Vampire Diaries, in consideration for next season. The project, from Vampire Diaries co-creator/executive producer Julie Plec, … Read More »