12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CW Orders 'Flash,' 'iZombie,' 'Messengers,' 'Virgin'; Renews 'Beast,' 'Dixie, '100'
The CW has unveiled its lineup for the 2014-15 season, renewing Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie and freshman The 100 and picking up to series its Arrow spinoff The Flash, Rob Thomas' iZombie, Jane the Virgin and The Messengers. Bubble series The Carrie Diaries and rookies Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People have been canceled. Remaining pilots Identity and Supernatural spinoff Bloodlines are not going forward.
Just like The Vampire Diaries' spinoff The Originals was last year, DC Comics-inspired The Flash was considered a lock from the minute it was announced last year. From Arrow producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns, star Grant Gustin (Glee, 90210) earned rave reviews for his role as Barry Allen/The Flash in two Arrow episodes this season.
From Veronica Mars mastermind Thomas, iZombie is based on the DC Comics title of the same name and centers on a medical student-turned-zombie (Rose McIver) who takes a job in the Coroner's Office in order to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat so that she can maintain her humanity. However, with every brain she eats, she inherits the corpse's memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head.
Thomas and Veronica Mars alum Diane Ruggiero adapted the comic, expanding their relationship with the network that also has a Veronica Mars spinoff as part of its digital platform CW Seed. From Warner Bros. Television and Rob Thomas Productions, Thomas directed the pilot.
The Messengers stars Shantel VanSanten, Sofia Black-D'Elia in an ensemble drama about a group of seemingly unconnected strangers who die from an energy pulse after a mysterious object crashes down to Earth. They then awaken to learn that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending apocalypse. The drama hails from CBS Television Studios and Thunder Road. Teen Wolf's Eoghan O'Donnell penned the script and will co-exec produce. The Town's Basil Iwanyk exec produces the drama. The Messengers was effectively vying with the passed over Identity for the same slot on the network's schedule.
Jane the Virgin, based on the Venezuelan telenovela, tells the story of a hard-working, religious, young Latina woman (Gina Rodriguez) who is accidentally artificially inseminated following a series of surprising and unforeseen events. The drama hails from CBS Television Studios and Electus and puts The CW back in business with 90210 and Emily Owens, M.D., showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, who penned the script and will exec produce alongside Ben Silverman, Gary Pearl and Jorge Granier. Sources tell THR that The CW is eyeing Jane as a Friday night replacement for The Carrie Diaries.
As for the returning dramas, the second season of Beauty and the Beast, starring Jay Ryan and Kristin Kreuk,has carved out a dedicated legion of viewers, averaging a 0.3 among adults under 50 -- on par with The Carrie Diaries -- and rising 67 percent when factoring in DVR. From Warner Bros. Television, the series was benched for a summer return after ceding its home on Mondays to freshman The Tomorrow People, which was moved to the slot to make space for rookie midseason entry The 100. Sources tell THR that the series, which is a solid international performer, will likely return for a short 13-episode order.
Created by Leila Gerstein, Hart of Dixie has been bounced around the schedule in its third season, shifting to Fridays for midseason as the younger-skewing net gave its freshman fare prime real estate. Although the Southern-set medical drama, led by Rachel Bilson, has remained under the radar for its three-season run, the series continues to be one of the network's best performing series on Hulu, which is becoming an increasingly valuable platform as the CW courts its key 18-34 demographic.
Of The CW's three freshman bubble shows, the futuristic drama The 100 -- starring Henry Ian Cusick and Isaiah Washington ranks as the best both among total viewers and adults 18-49, holding on to a good portion of lead-in Arrow's performance. The series, from Warner Bros. Television and EP Jason Rothenberg and based on the book of the same name, is only outperformed by rookie Star-Crossed in DVR gains (57 percent vs. 67 percent, respectively).
Not returning to the schedule are sophomore The Carrie Diaries and rookies Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People.
The Sex and the City prequel, which ended its two-season run in January, was developed by Amy B. Harris and starred AnnaSophia Robb. The 1980s-set Warner Bros. Television dramedy wrapped its 13-episode second season with a 0.4 in the adults demo -- even with its freshman run despite its move to a fall launch after a summer of rebroadcasts. The series, despite solid gains in DVR (up 67 percent to a 0.5) and online, was moved from its Monday midseason perch to Fridays and a fall bow, where the series couldn't parlay its dedicated fan base to a second run. Harris, meanwhile, and a number of the show's co-stars have already moved. The showrunner is part of the writing team on HBO's recently revived The Comeback.
For its part, Star-Crossed, Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter in a Romeo and Juliet-type story about a group of aliens integrating with humans, had a challenging time finding its footings to open Mondays for The CW opposite The Voce andDancing With the Stars. Thus far this season, the series is averaging a dismal 0.3 rating among adults under 50 and 1 million viewers, the lowest-rated among all the network's rookie bubble shows.
Finally, The Tomorrow People starring Robbie Amell in a remake of the '60s drama of the same name from EPs Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals) and Berlanti -- averaged a 0.6 among adults 18-49 and 1.5 million total viewers despite the benefit of an Arrow lead-in during the first half of the season.
The news comes as The CW previously renewed Arrow, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and freshmen The Originals and Reign for the 2014-15 season. The four new series pickups are down one year-over-year for the network.
The Flash and iZombie join Fox's recently picked up Batman prequel Gotham on the broadcast networks' schedules next season, giving DC Entertainment an extremely good week. They join Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, which likely be renewed for a second season at ABC. ABC's Captain America spinoff Agent Carter is also expected to get a series pickup this week as well.