'The Originals' Showrunner to Exit for ABC Studios Overall Deal (Exclusive)

Michael Narducci - Getty - H 2017
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The CW's The Originals is losing its showrunner.

Michael Narducci is stepping down and leaving producers Warner Bros. Television in favor of a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Under his new two-year pact, Narducci will create and develop projects for the studio behind such hits as Grey's Anatomy and American Crime. The deal brings him closer into the Disney family after developing Vertigo comic book Unfollow last season for ABC as part of his deal with WBTV.

While the news may sound alarming for The Originals, which is set to return March 17, production on the Vampire Diaries spinoff's fourth season has already been completed. The Originals, like all midseason and freshman shows, was left off the network's list of early renewals. Should the series return for a fifth season, creator Julie Plec would take over showrunning duties as The Vampire Diaries will have wrapped its run this season.

"Mike got an opportunity he couldn't pass up," Plec told THR. "He has been a brilliant partner and friend and I'm going to miss him desperately."

Narducci started on The Vampire Diaries in 2011 before moving on to its spinoff. His credits also include Medium. Narducci is repped by Brant Rose Agency and David Baird of Kinetic Management.

As for whether The Originals can exist without The Vampire Diaries, The CW president Mark Pedowitz told reporters at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that a decision on the spinoff would be made in May, after the network can review ratings for its most recent spinoff as well as its forthcoming slate of pilots (which likely will include fellow genre plays The Lost Boys and a Charmed reboot). "I am a big Julie Plec fan. I am hoping that The Originals can continue," said the exec. "A lot of it will be dependent upon performance, but I’m counting on Julie to deliver for the season."