Mark Pedowitz Poised to Take Top CW Job

Mark Pedowitz - 2005

The longtime ABC exec would replace departing chief Dawn Ostroff.

Longtime ABC exec Mark Pedowitz is believed to be in talks to take over for departing chief Dawn Ostroff at the CW.

Though the news is yet to be confirmed by the CW, sources says Pedowitz is poised to take the top job, with the CW’s current executive vice president of drama Thom Sherman likely to take a larger creative role at the female-skewing network.

The two worked together at ABC. (Previous names floated for the top gig include former Lifetime execs JoAnn Alfano, Andrea Wong and Susanne Daniels, as well as Warner Horizon’s Craig Erwich and ABC Family’s Kate Juergens.)

The well-liked Pedowitz would bring with him previous experience as head of both business affairs and then the studio unit at ABC as well as his more recent work as a producer. He set up Pine Street Entertainment, which has a first look deal with Warner Bros. Televison, around this time last year.

Pedowitz’s long-held relationships with brass at both Warner Bros and CBS, too, are believed to give him an advantage -- CW’s complex management structure has Ostroff currently reporting to CBS’ Leslie Moonves and Nancy Tellem and WB’s Barry Meyer and Bruce Rosenblum. CBS and Warner Bros. declined to comment Sunday.

The news comes at a challenging time for the network, which was formed in 2006 from the ashes of CBS Corp.-owned UPN and Warner Bros.’ WB Network. Although up 3 percent in the 18-49 demographic and steady among the the 18 to 84 set this season, the network still draws only a fraction of its broadcast network rivals’ numbers, and its most-watched show, America’s Next Top Model, averages 3.4 million viewers, about half as much as MTV’s Jersey Shore.

What’s more, while the CW provides a platform for Warner Bros. and CBS content, enabling the studio to reap backend cash, its struggle to turn a profit (it’s projected to lose another $57 million in 2011, per SNL Kagan) has long led to debate within the industry about the net’s long-term survival.

Meantime, Ostroff is in New York, where she has planned development presentations to tend to over the next two weeks. According to one source familiar with the situation, no announcement is imminent.