Press Tour: July 2014 The CW Executive Session Live-Blog
It's The CW's turn at the Television Critics Association press tour.
And if there's any network executive capable of evading questions with the grace of Paul Lee, it's The CW President Mark Pedowitz.
Usually I can predict a few of the things that will come up at an executive session, but this is a bit of a mystery...
Click through for all of Friday (July 18) morning's excitement...
9:02 a.m. The CW has ordered 24 more episodes of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" for... the future.
9:03 a.m. Mark Pedowitz takes the stage to Cuban music.
9:03 a.m. The first question is about "Beauty and the Beast." "'Beauty and the Beast' has a very engaged fan base. It has a very big international following," he says. The reality is that because of the international marketplace, it's very profitable for the overall company, Pedowitz says.
9:04 p.m. How did the very solid "Jane the Virgin" come to The CW? Ben Silverman brought a pile of stuff to The CW and "Jane the Virgin" was the title that jumped out. He praises the title, the resonance and whatnot. "We did not want to place the show on a Friday night," Pedowitz says. He felt like "The Originals" was a self-starter. "Originals" is The CW's second largest female-skewing show, so he felt that would boost "Jane," which is the only comedy in its time slot.
9:06 a.m. The CW has set out to broaden its 18-34 audience and to create a perception that the network is no longer just for teenage girls. "Arrow" and "Whose Line" have helped push the age out and helped expand to men. "I'm just happy to have viewers," Pedowitz says. "We sell a certain way. We are very flexible in selling to 18-34 and 18-49, but we knew we had to broaden our audience out somewhat to get to that place," he says.
9:07 a.m. What are the limits for how streaming numbers can boost a show? "We were very proud of 'The Carrie Diaries,'" Pedowitz says of one show renewed for its digital presence. But he says that both digital and on-air have to be there. "I wish it came back," he says, but says that "after a while, it just wasn't economically feasible."
9:08 a.m. A Comic-Con question. How important is that platform for promoting shows? Pedowitz remembers when "Lost" proved TV could get juice. "For us, it's a great first vehicle and a sustaining vehicle," he says. "It acts as the first pushing, in a way, for the fall launch campaign," he says. "That's a huge thing," he says of word-of-mouth from San Diego.
9:10 a.m. Pedowitz repeats that the network is very open to doing another "Supernatural" spinoff. Last season's "Tribes" spinoff just wasn't there creatively, he says.
9:11 a.m. "We are doing 10 episodes this year. We are looking forward to seeing what happens," Pedowitz says of "Hart of Dixie."
9:11 a.m. Regarding why "Beauty and the Beast" was pulled in spring, Pedowitz says that they had to premiere two midseason shows. He says they knew come May that they were picking it up. Did the "Beauty" producers know when they were pulled that they'd be back? "I wish we were that kind to them. They did not at that point," Pedowitz says.
9:12 a.m. Does The CW ever want to develop a new 30-minute comedy? Pedowitz admits that "Backpackers" and "Seed" weren't as successful in their Monday launch as he wanted. They're going to continue to try, though, to use that as a launching pad. And he views "comedic reality" as the network's alternative brand.
9:13 a.m. Pedowitz says he received 90 boxes of pasta this week from angry "Star-Crossed" fans. "We appreciate their passion for a show. We understand that's what makes it work," he says, but adds that there just weren't enough fans. Pedowitz adds that "Tomorrow People" didn't generate as much on-air or on digital as they hoped.
9:14 a.m. "I believe our shows need to reflect what America looks like," Pedowitz says of diversity on both sides of the camera. "It is something I believe in. We're an immigrant nation and without that you have nothing," he says. Nice. Kudos, Mark Pedowitz. He praises "Jane the Virgin" and "The Flash" for their diverse casts. "We can always do better, but we've made great strides," Pedowitz adds. "I no longer work at other networks, so I can no longer speak for other networks and what the do or do not do," he notes.
9:17 a.m. Was the network surprised by the response for "The 100"? "He made a gritty show out of something that was maybe not unique at first, but we made it unique to ourselves," he says. He raves about the digital following, is pleased with the critical reviews and all of that. "The 100" only has a 16-episode order for next season, but they want to let Jason Rothenberg do his work.
9:18 a.m. "I'm thrilled that Captain Kirk tweets," Pedowitz says of William Shatner's tweets about "The 100." He also suspects that the broadened out CW audience knows who William Shatner is.
9:19 a.m. How much faith does The CW put into actual Nielsen ratings? "Well, since it is the currency that we have to use, we have to put a level of faith in that their methodology is correct," he says. "I only with Nielsen had a bigger sample. It would be great if they did," saying that they have to have faith in it, even if it's flawed.
9:20 a.m. Can "Seed" be saved? Starting next week, "Whose Line" will go back to an hours, followed by "Seed" and "Backpackers."
9:21 a.m. What does he think about the place of The CW shows in the DC Universe? He says it's the studio's call and there have been no conversations about whether Arrow or Flash will appear in any of the movies. But in The CW's universe, Arrow and Flash will have characters shifting back and forth. "Flash" and "Arrow" will introduce more and more villains from the DC universe, he teases.
9:23 a.m. What does The CW think about balancing franchises and original programming like "Jane"? He says that with franchises and known properties, there's a built-in audience. "But you have to have faith that you can build new franchises," he says, suggesting that "Jane" could be a new franchise.
9:23 a.m. How much is Pedowitz involved to keep stereotypical roles out of "Jane the Virgin"? They're involved and they believe that the three-generational women on the show have to stay real for the show to work. He compares "Jane" to "Gilmore Girls."
9:25 a.m. One reporter has now asked THREE "Beauty and the Beast" questions. "Brad Kern has a really good place to go," Pedowitz says of the show going forward. He (The Beast?) is a medical doctor and he'll be getting his license back. They're going to pick up a couple months later. And the sister is coming back.
9:27 a.m. Is there a basement for how low "Seed" and other Canadian shows can go before they get pulled? "If Canadian content's working, I'll stick with it for a long time," Pedowitz says. "We have a pretty good patients for all of our shows to give them a run so that the audience doesn't feel cheated by it."
9:28 a.m. Are there any plans to air any shows consecutively without the long midseason break? Pedowitz notes that they've started premiering shows later, which has somewhat reduced repeats. He says that "Carrie Diaries" and "The 100" both ran their first seasons consecutive without repeats. They obviously want to air as much original programming as possible. He also references "The 100" as a show that The CW started late and ran into early summer. The goal is to do more of that to stagger programming throughout the early summer.
9:30 a.m. Pedowitz teases a couple of "organic" crossovers between "The Originals" and "The Vampire Diaries" this season. He's afraid to tell us much more lest he get "pummeled" by Julie Plec.
9:31 a.m. The network doesn't want to "slip completely down the genre hole," lest The CW be viewed only as a genre network. He hopes that "Jane the Virgin" will give the network balance and a family show. "Audiences do not come to us to watch procedurals... But they do come to us to watch interesting characters in a serialized form," he says.
That's all, folks...