CW Orders 'Originals' to Series, Renews 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Dixie'

Vampire Diaries The Originals Joseph Morgan - H 2013
The CW

Vampire Diaries The Originals Joseph Morgan - H 2013

Hours after NBC renewed five dramas, The CW has ordered its first new series for 2013-14 -- the Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals -- and renewed freshman Beauty and the Beast and veteran Hart of Dixie for additional seasons.

The order for The Originals comes the day after The Vampire Diaries' backdoor pilot aired to 2.2 million total viewers and a 0.9 rating in adults 18-49, down a tenth of a point week-over-week and off 31 percent from the vampire drama's season average. 

The spinoff revolves around the Original family in New Orleans. In the episode, Klaus returns to the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans, a town he helped build centuries ago, and is reunited with his diabolical former protégé Marcel (Charles Michael Davis). Elijah, intent on helping his self-destructive brother find redemption, must side with Marcel's enemies in order to keep Klaus in line. Joseph Morgan, Phoebe Tonkin, Daniel Gillies, Claire Holt, Danielle Campbell and Leah Pipes star in the drama from Vampire Diaries showrunner Julie Plec.

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Originals is one of two pilots Plec has in contention this season at the CW. She's also teaming with Arrow EP Greg Berlanti to adapt The Tomorrow People, based on the '70s U.K. series created by Roger Price. A decision on Tomorrow People, starring Robbie Amell (cousin to Arrow's Stephen Amell) is expected to be announced in the coming weeks as the network mulls their current pilot batch.

In a Hollywood Reporter poll, 66 percent of the more than 7,000 responders voted that the CW should pick up The Originals, checking off that they'd watch the series as much as The Vampire Diaries.

“As soon as we saw last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, we knew we wanted more of The Originals -- Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson have done a fantastic job with The Vampire Diaries, which is as fast-paced and well-written as ever, and Julie has created an equally compelling world for The Originals,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said in a statement making the announcement Friday. “We’re also very excited to bring back Beauty and the Beast and Hart of Dixie for next season -- both series continue to be creatively strong and compelling, and their fans are incredibly passionate. I’m very happy to have all three series on the schedule for next season.”

Created by Leila Gerstein, Hart of Dixie has been a decent ratings performer for The CW as a kick-off to Tuesday nights in its current second season. Although the Southern-set medical drama, led by Rachel Bilson, has remained under the radar for its two-season run, the network has several holes to fill for the 2013-14 season following numerous cancellations (Cult, Emily Owens M.D.), with veteran shows also coming to an end (90210, Gossip Girl). More importantly, Hart of Dixie 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. Its online performance also helped propel the series to a second season order last year.

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Beauty and the Beast, meanwhile, has carved out a loyal audience in the plum post-Vampire Diaries slot on Thursdays at 9 p.m. The Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan starrer earned the People's Choice Award for favorite new drama. The series sees a 45 percent ratings bump among women 18-34 when counting seven days of DVR growth. 

The series join the CW's 2013-14 lineup that includes the previously renewed America's Next Top Model, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and Arrow. CW series still awaiting word on their fate include freshman Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, which ended its midseason run with a 0.7 average among adults 18-49 and solid buzz, and Friday entry Nikita, which has averaged a .5 in the adults 18-49 metric this season. A decision is expected on these and the rest of the network's pilots in the coming weeks as the CW preps its upfront presentation to Madison Avenue in May.

The order for The Originals marks the broadcast networks' first series order of the season. It's one of a handful of spin-offs this pilot season, including NCIS: Red (CBS), Chicago Fire's untitled police-set entry (NBC) and ABC's Alice in Wonderland-themed Once Upon a Time presentation. 

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