CW President on Expanding the Worlds of 'Supernatural' and 'Riverdale'

Mark Pedowitz told reporters at TCA that if originals on Sundays work, the network could open up shop on Saturdays.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The CW
Mark Pedowitz

The CW president Mark Pedowitz took his turn before reporters Monday morning at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour, where he fielded questions about the network's multiple efforts to create a Supernatural spinoff and, after letting Sabrina go to Netflix, whether there are other offshoots that could come out of Riverdale.

The younger-skewing broadcast network, a joint venture between Warner Bros. TV and CBS Television Studios, heads into the 2018-19 broadcast season with 17 scripted originals — more than at any point in its history — as it opens up a new night of programming on Sundays starting in October.

Even with the additional shelf space, The CW passed on Wayward Sisters, the female-fronted spinoff of Supernatural. That marked Pedowitz's latest effort to create new life from the Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki favorite. Pedowitz, who noted that Supernatural will celebrate its landmark 300th episode this coming season, admitted that he remains open to other ideas but may believe that the success of the series has everything to do with its two stars.

"We were very happy with the women who were in Wayward Sisters. We had only a certain number of slots and it just didn't get there," Pedowitz told reporters. "If there's a great idea they want to go forward with, we're here to listen. [But] Supernatural may be Jared and Jensen and there may not be a franchise beyond that."

Regarding other spinoffs — The CW's roster is built largely around offshoots from Greg Berlanti's DC Comics dramas, including The Flash and Arrow — Pedowitz said Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (who also serves as chief creative officer at Archie Comics) has other ideas for new potential series specifically for the network. Aguirre-Sacasa created Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which was originally in development for The CW but moved to Netflix after Pedowitz released the series back to Warner Bros. TV after the studio's president, Peter Roth, received a two-season, straight-to-series offer from the streaming giant.

"In terms of spinoffs out of Riverdale, I'm waiting to hear what Roberto has in mind. He has something in mind," Pedowitz said, noting that while Sabrina and Riverdale are set in the same universe, there "is no cross connection" between the two series.

Spinoffs are a large part of The CW's business. The network has five DC Comics shows that are all cross-connected and all largely started out of Greg Berlanti-produced Arrow and The Flash. A sixth, Batwoman, is in development with the character being introduced this coming season in the annual Arrow-verse crossover event. Pedowitz remained optimistic that adding a sixth night of programming would leave the door open to grow the roster to six, given that there are no current plans to end any of them. "Shows do eventually end, we have no plans yet to end one of or any of them. We'll see where we come out as the season goes on," said the exec.

The CW's roster space will have three immediate openings next season as the network bids farewell this season to Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie. Pedowitz also used his time before the press to lament the lack of awards recognition for Crazy and Jane, as well as for the stunt work on the DC series. With three immediate openings and the addition of Sundays, Pedowitz believes that the new executive regime at WarnerMedia will keep his network on its current growth track and, should Sundays work, potentially open up Saturdays as a night for originals.

"We have to see how Sunday works. If it does work out and there is support, I'm sure it's a conversation with our board," he said. "I know both parent Warner Bros. and CBS are very happy with The CW's business model. They allowed us to grow into a sixth night, and hopefully a seventh. They're happy with how we're growing, and I expect with the new ownership that that will continue."