TCA: CW looking to continue its growth

CW head honcho Mark Pedowitz. (Variety)
CW head honcho Mark Pedowitz. (Variety)

With less doubt surrounding its future, The CW is looking to continue is growth by steering away from teen-oriented soaps and adding more broader appeal fare such as Arrow. During the net’s exec session, network entertainment president Mark Pedowitz said he would introduce The Flash as a recurring character on Arrow this upcoming season as a springboard for a possible spin-off (The Flash aired on CBS as a short-lived series in the fall of 1990 – click here to watch the entire pilot.)

Pedowitz also elaborated on CBS CEO Les Moonves’ comments during the CBS exec session (CW is owned by CBS and TimeWarner) saying the CW shows are profitable, even if the network is not. The Netflix deal (which streams past seasons of most CW shows) has been a lifesaver, Pedowitz noted. He also was pleased with the summer performance of Whose Line Is It Anyway (the premiere of the former ABC castoff actually won its time slot) and may be a springboard for future comedy projects.

During the tour, CW confirmed it is developing a spinoff of Supernatural to be set in Chicago and examines the monster culture of the Windy City (maybe they’ll fins the monster that never showed up in Monster-A-Go-Go, a sci-fi embarrassment filmed in Chicago in the early ’60’s.)

Yes, there is still some teen junk on The CW (The Carrie Diaries) and Tyra Banks is still hangin’ around. And some shows still put up embarrassing ratings (Cult, which was being outdrawn by regular-season Blackhawks games by a mile and a bottom-of-the-barrel New Orleans Hornets-Cleveland Cavaliers matchup on ESPN.) But given CBS’ commitment, Sinclair’s station expansion, and new management at Tribune Broadcasting (all three either own or operate a majority of CW’s affiliates in the top 100 markets) – not to mention an improved programming slate for the second year in a row, look for CW to stick around.

– On to the panels: First up was Vampire Diaries spin-off Originals. Creator and producer Julie Plec said the series would be different from the mothership with the characters “embracing vampirism”. She acknowledged the difficulty of attracting viewers who aren’t into The Vampire Diaries or the Twilight films and Originals…and she believes having the show stands on its own and not rely on Diaries creatively would actually draw an audience who never seen the show.

Having Originals stand out from its parent from the start is a good strategy – something The Cleveland Show never did as the animated series wasn’t able to escape from the shadow of the show it spun off of (Family Guy), and suffered for it.

– The panel was Reign was quite a lively one as the actress who plays Mary Queen Of Scots (Adeline Kane) said don’t look for a History Channel docu-type series. While Mary was indeed a real person, she said embellishing the character wasn’t a big deal: “It’s also TV, so you can take creative license. It’s entertainment, it’s not the History channel.”

Of course, there has to place in history for a teenage girl masturbating in a castle hall, as the series depicts.

Critics questioned the historical inaccuracies, such as Mary coming to France to marry the French King’s son, Prince Francis – in real life, Francis was a sick kid who died on the throne less than two years. But in true CW fashion, Francis becomes a healthy hunk in this version (was Mary the one masturbating in the castle hall thinking about him?) Just change his name to Bif already.

At least Kane researched and studied the character, for whatever that’s worth. Reign debuts October 17.

– Next up was The Tomorrow People, a series based on the popular UK science fiction series which aired on ITV from 1973-79 and again from 1992-95. Similar in premise to Heroes, these individuals possess powers – but unlike Heroes, these people acquired them through human evolution. At the panel, producers Julie Plec (who’s also producing Originals) and Greg Berlanti talked about how the new version of Tomorrow stacked up with the original ITV version – they were big fans of the show, with reruns airing on Nickelodeon back in the day. Berlanti praised director Danny Cannon’s contributions to the show – notably with special effects and his strong work ethic.

Mentioned at the panel was an interesting tidbit from the original Tomorrow People: One of the villains – a human-looking robot named Jedekiah twirled his mustache – literally. It’s a cliche many writers hate.