The CW at TCAs: A Veronica Mars Spin-off, Supernatural's Future, and Katherine's Fate on The Vampire Diaries
Mark Pedowitz, the man behind all those good-looking men on The CW, took the stage at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour today to talk about the state of TV now (TV now). He pretended to say a lot while not actually saying anything at all, but I've sifted through everything and I think I've compiled most of the important stuff regarding the state of the network, what's coming up, the status of the just-announced Veronica Mars digital spin-off series, and what he thinks about Fox's decision to quit participating in pilot season all together.
On The CW's just-announced Veronica Mars digital spin-off:
The network has just closed a deal to resurrect the series back as a web series on CW Seed, the home of the network's original online programming, but it's so new that there's almost nothing Pedowitz could share about it. But he did confirm that the upcoming Veronica Mars film is what gave birth to the idea, and that series creator Rob Thomas is "very excited." Right now, the basic plan is to make six to eight 10-minute episodes to debut after the movie's premiere. This doesn't make up for the fact that the network unceremoniously canceled the cult favorite in 2007, but it certainly helps to ease the pain.
On becoming the home for genre television, and how pilots work for The CW:
With the success of dramas like The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and Arrow, The CW has nearly become synonymous with genre television, and the network is embracing that fact. "High concept/fantasy-meets-serialized-drama ... that's what works for us," Pedowitz said. "In that vein, that's what we look for... I loved Emily Owens M.D. when we did it... [but] the audience isn't coming to us for a normal procedural."
Pedowitz wishes Fox well in its efforts to opt out of pilot season, but The CW will not be following suit. The network doesn't make that many pilots in general, and it has a very high pilot-to-series ratio. Of the seven pilots produced last development season, five made it air. "For us, it's a very efficient system. You learn things you would never see."
On the future of Supernatural:
The fate of the series, which saw a resurgence in Season 8, has not yet been determined, but together with Arrow, the Winchesters have helped give The CW its best Tuesday ratings in five years, so no one needs to start any save-the-show campaigns or anything. Plus, Pedowitz is a fan of the show. "As long as I'm still here, and those numbers still hold, it can go as long as it wants."
On the fate of Nina Dobrev's Katherine on The Vampire Diaries:
Naturally, the group of reporters in attendance was concerned about our Queen's fate, because we have hearts (well some of us do, anyway), but Pedowitz was not forthcoming with any details. "I am not allowed to discuss plot points for Julie Plec," he joked. [She will] stake me." Well, sorry guys, we tried. Guess you'll just have to tune in for the series' 100th episode next week to find out.
On the future of feel-good dramedies Hart of Dixie and The Carrie Diaries:
Knowing that Zoe and the people of Bluebell will be moving to Fridays beginning March 21, the future of the series is definitely a concern for many people. Pedowitz admitted the series had a tough time period on Monday nights, and that although it did fairly well, he hopes it will also do well paired with Who's Line Is It Anyway on Friday evenings because they're both comedic shows. As for the future of the series, "We haven't made a decision one way or another." I'm personally leading the charge for the series to return because the world needs more Wilson Bethel.
When asked about the future of '80s set The Carrie Diaries, he praised creator Amy Harris on Season 2. "[She] did a really good job with the show this year." But just as with Hart of Dixie, there won't be a decision on the show's fate until May. Knowing that the series was renewed last year as a result of its streaming numbers, I urge all of you to go stream the entire second season immediately. At least six times.
"I'm very bullish on Reign," said Pedowitz, using the buzzword for TCA 2014. The ratings for the series are beginning to increase, and it's doing better in the post-TVD time slot than Beauty and the Beast ever did (which isn't saying much, unfortunately, because BATB's first season performed worse than The Secret Circle and the latter was canceled. And no, I plan on never letting that go. Team Diana 4-EVER!)
On what's coming up for the network:
The CW has acquired the four-hour miniseries Labyrinth, which is not a remake of the 1980s David Bowie film as I'd originally hoped. There's no premiere date yet, but the project stars John Hurt (most recently seen in Doctor Who), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Gossip Girl), Jessica Findlay-Brown (Downton Abbey), and
Draco Malfoy Tom Felton. Set in France and South Africa, the miniseries is a historical drama about the Holy Grail. Merlin's Katie McGrath also stars.
Barber Battle—I kid you not—is a new 10-episode reality series from Cedric the Entertainer that travels to barbershops across the country so barbers can showcase their artistic designs. Once again: none of that was a joke.
There's also a new series called Penn & Teller: Fool Us. It will see aspiring magicians perform their best tricks in an attempt to fool the famous magicians. There's no premiere date yet.
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