As part of a 1980s themed morning, CW President Mark Pedowitz entered to Bruce Springsteen's 1984 anthem "Born in the USA" for his presentation Sunday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour and spoke to reporters while they feasted on Pop Rocks and cans of Tab. Addressing a number of topics, Pedowitz discussed the network's larger strategy and the future of many of its series.
"We had a pretty good fourth quarter," Pedowitz proclaimed, noting the CW's 10% increase in total viewers. Despite the uptick, the network registered generally flat numbers in the key 18-49 and 18-34 demographics, which Pedowitz attributes to Nielsen's inability to accurately measure the non-traditional viewing habits of younger age groups. As a result, the network's median age has risen to 41, a fact pointed out by NBC chief Bob Greenblatt during the Peacock network's TCA session. "I'd like to thank Bob for giving us a shout out for doing what we set out to do," Pedowitz said in response.
Among the highlights:
- Pedowitz expressed his satisfaction with the total viewership increase of Supernatural following its move from Fridays to Wednesdays this season. "We are pleased with how Wednesday night has done this fall with Arrow and Supernatural," he boasted. "Supernatural has gained back viewers, creatively the show is in great shape. There is always a good shot that it will come back."
- He also suggested that 90210 would make a return, likely for its swan song. "I am a big believer in giving fans a very satisfactory conclusion," he said. "It's something that we as a television industry need to do."
- Although the network has yet to order a pilot this season, there is strong buzz around Amazon, the CW's Wonder Woman prequel. "We're waiting to see the script and we're busy casting Diana," Pedowitz announced. "Hopefully the script works out the way we want." Following the panel, the executive informed reporters that the origin story of Diana Prince would be presented in a contemporary setting, rather than the character's original World War II era origin, and that the network was looking at both new and established actresses for the role. He also mentioned the possibility of adapting other DC properties as well, following the success of Arrow.
- Another top contender to receive a pilot order is The Originals, a spinoff from the network's hit Vampire Diaries that will focus on Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and the Original family of vampires living in New Orleans. "You'll have the melting pot of New Orleans and deal with a lot of voodoo and everything that goes with it," Pedowitz explained, adding that he is a "big believer that if you have something that works you can use it to incubate other shows."
- With the blockbuster success of The Hunger Games earlier this year, the CW put into development some related projects. Pedowitz stated that the potential television series adaptation of the 2000 Japanese feature film Battle Royale, based on Koushun Takumi's novel of the same name, was officially dead at the network. Another project similar to the Hunger Games is the drama pilot The Selection, based on a series of books by Kiera Cass. While the network passed on it in May, the project is being redeveloped and is still in the mix. "The script just came in and it's very well done," Pedowitz said. Although he has yet to make a decision, the CW exec noted that he is hoping to have seven or eight pilots in contention this year.
- As for the edgy ensemble drama The LA Complex, Pedowitz lamented that the series was not renewed for a third season by its Canadian broadcaster. While he had discussions with the show's producers about keeping it alive on the CW alone, they were unable to find an economically viable solution. However, Pedowitz confirmed that he would continue to explore Canadian programming for his network.
- Anchoring the CW's midseason schedule, The Carrie Diaries represents the network's opportunity to draw in the somewhat older fanbase of HBO's Sex and the City, as well as the typical younger viewership. Since the show is set in 1984, Pedowitz dismissed the notion of any product placement for Apple or Microsoft, but claimed there would still be product integration in the form of hair care, cosmetics, and cars.
What do you think of the CW's midseason slate?