TCA 2012 The CW and Showtime Recap: Pedowitz and Nevins Shrug at Ratings, 'Weeds' Says Farewell
As one network ushers in three new fall series -- "Arrow," "Beauty and the Beast," "Emily Owens, M.D." -- its cable sister prepares to end the long-running pot comedy and "The Big C."
The CW and Showtime split Monday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, and though the sister networks had quite different presentations, they did have one theme in common: neither is putting much stock in Nielsen ratings.
“Digital streaming numbers on our shows are astronomical," said CW president Mark Pedowitz. "Nielsen is trying to do the best they can. We are all looking for an accurate measurement." Taking the stage in the afternoon for his own executive session, Showtime entertainment president David Nevins also put the emphasis on a different viewership model. "65-70 percent of our viewing doesn’t happen on Sunday night when the show is first broadcast," he said, referring to outgoing Weeds.
The CW Executive Session: In addition to talk of ratings, Pedowitz explained the network's fall approach, which has all of the shows premiering in October. The move is meant to avoid September's flood of new and returning series and remove encores from the schedule. Many series, including the final 10 episodes of Gossip Girl, will air uninterrupted.
Arrow: Stephen Amell's starring turn in the new comic book drama was greeted by a relatively fawning crowd of reporters, many of them dwelling on the actor's rigorous workout during the panel. EP Marc Guggenheim was more interested in talking about the series' source material and their plan for staying true to it moving forward. "We're definitely taking a lot of inspiration from Green Arrow: Year 1 and Green Arrow: The Long Bow Hunters," he said. "Green Arrow has an origin that's subject to a lot of interpretation. We always start with the comic as our source of inspiration."
Emily Owens, M.D.: Narration, often a source of irritation for the TCA crowd, will continue to play a role in the Mamie Gummer medical drama after the pilot. "I think it's a point-of-view show," she said. "[It is something] we can use comedically, we can use effectively emotionally. I like it as a device."
Beauty and the Beast: Linda Hamilton is aware of the Beauty and the Beast reboot, and she's given her blessing to the actress taking over her '80s TV character. Series star Kristin Kreuk says she received a letter of approval from Hamilton while shooting in Toronto. "I got in on our first day of work and it was in my trailer," she said. "It was really nice for her to know what we're doing and wishing us well. It's rad."
Showtime Executive Session: Nevins used his platform to boast about a few milestones for the cable network -- growing subscriber base to nearly 22 million, a record 22 Emmy nominations and the distinction of having President Obama's favorite show (Homeland) among them. He also took the opportunity to confirm that The Big C will return for a fourth and final season of four hourlong episodes.
Weeds: A frequently teary-eyed Mary-Louise Parker spoke about reading and filming Weeds' upcoming series finale, and had some especially nice words for creator Jenji Kohan. “[She] managed to bring things together in a really beautiful way," said Parker. "She didn’t make it a happily-ever-after thing. But there was hope and there was some sort of benediction. I cried when I read it. I think the finale is beautifully written and I hope it lives up to what she wrote.”
Dexter: Given the game-changing events of the recent Dexter finale, the stars and creative team are all aware that the writing is on the wall. "Deb finding out does make an end game feel a little more palpable and imminent," said Michael C. Hall, noting this year Dexter's secret is no longer his own. "The plan is to do this season and a final eighth season to tell the story of the two of them negotiating their relationship in this new landscape."
Homeland: The cast and EPs of Homeland did not skimp on the details of the upcoming second season. Claire Danes' Carrie is on a mission to reclaim her "mojo" and Damian Lewis' is slowly unraveling with the pressures of leading a double life. "He'd like to think he's in control of his own destiny, but he won't be," said Lewis, whose character now holds a Senate seat while maintaining links with Muslim extremists. "Essentially, he's everybody's bitch. He's pretty f---ed."