Dialogue: Dawn Ostroff, CW Entertainment president


Related: Pilot Package: Will the strike's mark be permanent?

More pilot season coverage

The Hollywood Reporter:
What were you focusing on in developing your 2008-09 slate?
Dawn Ostroff: We really wanted projects that would fit our brand. We're skewing obviously to 18-34, but particularly toward young women in that demo. We wanted projects that would really stand out both in terms of titles, like "90210," and also in terms of theme. We're looking for a show to really break out.

THR: How did the "90210" spinoff come about?
Ostroff: What happened was somebody mentioned the idea of us developing it, and when we really thought about it, two things came to mind: One was that the show already had a known brand. We thought it could break out in terms of being able to attract viewers who had watched the show as well as bring in new viewers, a young group that hadn't seen it when it was originally on the air (on Fox). This would be their version of "90210." In addition, it really did fit what we are trying to do with the network. When you look at what "90210" did years ago, that kind of show took a little while to catch on, but it had a loyal fan base. We've been consistently seeing that with our shows. "90210" could be paired with "Gossip Girl" for a great night of television, or it could be a show that starts a night for us. Either way, it would work.

THR: You've ordered only three pilots so far. Why is that?
Ostroff: We decided to do (fewer pilots before the upfront) because of the (WGA) strike. We decided to make some now and then some after we get back in May. We'll probably wind up making the same amount of pilots, just at different times. We didn't want to rush into anything.

THR: In what other ways did the writers strike affect CW?
Ostroff: It allowed us to go into development all year long. We're taking pitches now and will make pilots later than May. It allows us to have a larger pool of talent, and instead of everybody making pilots at one time of the year, spreading it out makes more sense particularly for us. It's really good to develop all year round.

THR: Your ratings also were affected by the strike. Do you expect viewers to return?
Ostroff: It's definitely going to be challenging to get the word out that there are new episodes on. But once viewers hear about it, they'll be excited about coming to see their favorite show and new episodes.

THR: You recently eliminated your comedy division. What are your plans in that arena?
Ostroff: We are looking at a couple of shows seriously that have yet to shoot. At the same time, we're developing some comedy but specifically for our needs -- toward young women. We're really looking for a show that's loud and makes a lot of noise. It's harder to get that with comedy these days.

THR: You will have holes in your schedule with the departure of "Girlfriends" and Friday's "WWE SmackDown!" How do you plan to fill those?
Ostroff: Until we make our schedule, I don't know. I'll look at the pilots we have and then work it out.

THR: Are you going to stick with unscripted programming on Friday nights?
Ostroff: We could go a lot of different ways.

THR: Have you made a decision yet on freshmen"Aliens in America" or "Reaper"?
Ostroff: There's been no decision.