Opening the broadcast portion of the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, The CW president Mark Pedowitz began his time before reporters Sunday with news that The 100 would join Supernatural and Arrow as long-running dramas wrapping their runs during the 2019-2020 broadcast season. Given that the younger-skewing broadcast network recently wrapped Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie, the exec fielded a wave of questions about the future of The CW as it expands its DC Comics and Riverdale worlds.
Pedowitz noted that The 100 showrunner Jason Rothenberg wanted to end the show with season seven — and that the stars of Supernatural wanted to go out on a high with season 15. As for Arrow — the show that spawned impressive six DC Comics shows for The CW — the series is coming to its natural conclusion.
Pedowitz — broadcast television’s longest-tenured broadcast chief — confessed that there are other ideas he’s looking to develop as the forthcoming Ruby Rose-led Batwoman represents the second phase of The CW’s DC Comics roster.
“Batwoman is the next evolution. It’s the next step to do something. We believe that this universe will continue for many years,” the exec told reporters, noting that he hopes Supergirl, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow go on for years to come. “How that universe plays out, time will tell.”
While Arrow will end next season, Pedowitz wouldn’t close the door to doing yet another spinoff from the show that helped redefine his network. “Nothing is ever 100 percent done,” he said. “You learn that over time. There’s a possibility, but we haven’t had a discussion about what that storyline will do as [we plot the] next generation [of DC shows]. There is another property we’re looking at for the following season.” (Pedowitz declined to share details of the other possible Arrow spinoff when pressed by The Hollywood Reporter after the panel.)
As for Supernatural, Pedowitz reiterated that he believes stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are the key to the show’s success and, while he has tried to do two spinoffs, neither worked because they lacked the magic the fan-favorites bring to the franchise. While it’s unlikely The CW will attempt to pilot a third Supernatural spinoff, Pedowitz joked that he’d be “open” to doing something if anyone could convince the guys to return. (It’s also worth noting that Supernatural is the last show with ties to the former WB Network.)
In addition to expanding the DC Comics world, Pedowitz echoed his remarks from winter TCA and expressed confidence in the low-rated rookies All American and In the Dark. Both shows were renewed for second seasons based largely on their digital performance on The CW’s digital platforms and on Netflix, where they are the last new series to head to the streamer after the network opted to not renew that pact. Both shows as well as the expansion of the Riverdale world with rookie Katy Keene represent the next evolution of the broadcaster.
“You have to give shows nine months to a year to see if it’s gaining traction,” Pedowitz confessed. “We know In the Dark and All American have traction. … Transition is hard. We transitioned from a female-skewing network in ’10, ’11 and ’12 to more male-focused with Supernatural and now we’ve shifted back a bit with Riverdale, All American and In the Dark to something different.”
As far as feedback from WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey, Pedowitz said he has yet to speak to his new boss but has heard from network co-owners Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios that everyone is happy. “As far as I know, we’re in great shape,” he said.
Here are other highlights from Pedowitz’s time Sunday at TCA:
About those Dynasty cast changes … The reboot has had a revolving door of stars coming in and departing quickly with four major exits on top of a showrunner change. Pedowitz noted that there was “no dirt to be found” and that the departures were a coincidence as all involved had “personal issues” that prompted those decisions. “We felt there’s a way to do soaps where characters come and go,” he said, noting that showrunner Sallie Patrick departed to focus on development.
Filming in Georgia … Given the proposed Georgia legislation that would effectively ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and the subsequent backlash, Pedowitz said that the network would hold discussions with parent companies CBS and Warner Bros. to determine a course of action should the law ever go into effect. “Anybody who interferes with people’s right to make medical choices, I’m solely against,” he said. The CW’s Legacies, among others, films in Georgia.
More Riverdale? … Katy Keene is The CW’s first Riverdale spinoff to air on The CW and the third show in the Archie Comics universe (joining CW-turned-Netflix entry Chilling Adventures of Sabrina). Pedowitz said there isn’t another spinoff in the works — at least not right now — as showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s priority is to get Katy Keene off the ground and keeping Riverdale on course. That said: “We’re always open when Roberto comes in and talks about other Riverdale characters,” Pedowitz added.
About that Gossip Girl reboot … After Gossip Girl originally ran on The CW, creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s new take is being produced for the forthcoming SVOD platform HBO Max. Pedowitz noted that his network was in “preliminary discussions” for the new series. “It’s nice for CW branding in a weird way because it’s one of our shows that will help anchor this new streaming service,” he said. “It’s good for our brand and it’s good for them. I’m all for it.”