Sitting before the CW’s multi-colored “TV to Talk About” placards on the Beverly Hilton stage, recently installed CW president Mark Pedowitz grinned widely. “I’m the new kid,” he said to a roomful of reporters. “Fire away.”
Pedowitz used his half-hour platform before the Television Critics Association Thursday to touch on his plans for expanding the younger, female-skewing network. Though the women 18 to 34 audience remains the CW’s “bread and butter,” as he puts it, his goal will be to appeal to that core group while attempting to lure others. To do so, he said he’s in negotiations for a vocal reality series and will look for close-ended series, comedies and a potential superhero show to fill out the CW schedule.
“[This audience] wants romance, they want a man who looks like a man, and more importantly, they want hope,” said Pedowitz, who admits he now channels his 26-year-old niece when making programming decisions.
He and his team have high hopes for Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer, which was originally developed for corporate cousin CBS, to appeal to a broader audience as well. “I’m grateful that CBS did not have a lot of holes to fill,” he said, noting that the series won’t “suffer one bit” by being on a network with fewer resources than CBS.
Going forward, he said, “We will look to get high-concept serialized shows –we’re not going to walk away from our serialized programs– but at the same time we’re going to have a deep focus to find that great close-ended show that has that CW feel to it.” He continued by noting the value of having shows that repeat better than the CW’s current crop. (He’s similarly hopeful the Rachel Bilson‘s upcoming Hart of Dixie, a serialized series with stand-alone medical cases, will have some life in reruns.)
Pedowitz expressed his desire to reverse a course paved by his predecessor Dawn Ostroff, who moved away from the comedy genre, publicly acknowledging at the time the challenges of doing sitcoms for the CW demo. “We are opening ourselves up to looking at comedies this year,” Pedowitz said, claiming several of the coming season’s new comedies –CBS’ Two Broke Girls, ABC’s Apt 23 and Fox’s New Girl-– would have worked well on the CW.
He reiterated that desire to get a foothold in the genre in a scrum following the panel, explaining that he’ll do so slowly and selectively. “Being owned by CBS and Warner Brothers, they’re two of the best studios for comedies around so we have a good shot of actually finding something that works,” Pedowitz added. Asked whether he planned to have a block in place by next fall, he shrugged, “If it happens, great.”
As for the net’s returning fare, Pedowitz isn’t ready to bid farewell to Supernatural. While he hasn’t granted the long-running series another season, he assured the room that he and his team would like to see it keep going. He also expressed his desire to keep the entire Gossip Girl cast on the series for as long as possible, noting that he’s “a big a believer in casts staying together.”
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