The CW Boss Negotiating Nina Dobrev's 'Vampire Diaries' Return, Hopeful for 'Crazy Ex' Netflix Bump

Mark Pedowitz offers updates on Dobrev, the future for 'Supernatural' and 'The Originals' as well as his commitment to low-rated critical darlings.
The CW
Nina Dobrev

Half-dancing his way onto the stage at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour Thursday morning to an Emmy-nominated tune from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The CW president Mark Pedowitz was still visibly pleased about the network's five nominations for this year's TV kudos.

Before taking questions, he also admitted that he was bummed about the snubs — notably Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom and Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez. “Jane has redefined the identity of this network,” said Pedowitz, also politely offering regrets about the network's genre fare going ignored.

The CW renewed almost its entire lineup for the 2015-16 season, canceling just one show (Julie Plec's Containment), and so its orders for the upcoming broadcast calendar were slim. Pedowitz says that this is part of the strategy for year-round programming, one that he thinks they've achieved with the current roster of scripted series, whose orders range from 10 to 22 episodes.

"By now having 15 scripted series, we can launch in the fall, launch in midseason," he said. "We're pretty content with that. I think it's the right amount of scripted series for us. It allows us to roll into the summer." (Speaking with a small group of reporters afterward, he emphasized that 15 is the sweet spot, though it could go up to 16 or down to 13.)

Taking a seat for the Q&A, Pedowitz also offered the backstory on the decision to end The Vampire Diaries, what that means for spinoff The Originals and how ratings still aren't a factor for internal favorite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Here are the key takeaways:

They're Trying to Get Nina Dobrev Back for The Vampire Diaries finale
"There are discussions going on with Nina," said Pedowitz of the departed star. "She was integral to The Vampire Diaries. Hopefully it will work out — but, should it not, Julie [Plec] has planned a great series finale for fans." Dobrev left the show at the end of its sixth season, with the upcoming eighth season recently announced as the last. That decision, according to Pedowitz, started with co-creator Plec. "[Warner Bros'] Peter Roth, Julie and I had discussions," he said. "We collectively came to the same place. Julie got there before Peter or I did, that this was the time to end the series."

The Originals Is Being Judged on Its Own Merits
Pedowitz says that the spinoff is now its own beast. And while Plec remains heavily involved with that project as well, the CW chief said it will be judged on its own merits. "It could live very well on its own," he said. "We'll see how it comes back at midseason. Hopefully it will see a fifth year."

Supernatural May Last Forever
Entering its 12th season this fall, Supernatural is the last lingering show from pre-CW network UPN — only a faint memory at this point. And the series could very well outlive us all. Pedowitz seemed amused by the show's ratings stamina and content cast. "Jared [Padalecki] and Jenson [Ackles] seem very happy," he said of the Supernatural stars. "I'm thrilled with the creative direction of the show. If the ratings hold, this show could outlast my tenure on this network."

Is There a CW Version of Homeland
The CW has gotten the most critical attention for hourlong comedies Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin. The pair seem to fit into a model that's very different from the superhero- and supernatural-focused dramas that occupy the rest of the schedule. That strategy might change in the future, but Pedowitz did give the sense that it was on the immediate horizon: "Would we like a Homeland or a Night Of which fits our broadcast model, which is 43 [years old] for TV and 23 [years old] digitally? Sure. I leave that to our development team."

There's Optimism Around Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Netflix Launch 
It is not lost on anyone at The CW that the network's two most acclaimed shows are also its lowest-rated. Pedowitz noted that all the talk of sophomore dips for Jane the Virgin was not necessarily true — "Its C3 ratings were basically the same" — and that he's optimistic about bringing a bigger audience to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. "In terms of Crazy Ex, I'm waiting to see the Netflix number," he said of the show's first year recently dropping on the streamer. "I don't have the numbers. I want the numbers. I'm praying for the numbers." What Pedowitz did see, though he admitted he wasn't sure what it meant, was more online mentions of the show once it started streaming. In terms of getting rid of either, that's not something he seemed willing to entertain: "What's the bar? A show like Crazy Ex deserves to be picked up. A show like Jane deserves to get picked up."