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It’s truly the end of an era at The CW.
The network’s longest-running scripted original, Supernatural, is ending with its previously announced 15th season. Stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins made the announcement Friday on social media. Season 15 will consist of 20 episodes — on par with its current tally.
“Firstly, we would like to thank all the people who have been involved with the show both in front of and behind the camera. For us it has been an experience of a lifetime. The support we have had from both Warner Bros Television and The CW has been incredible. We’d like to give special thanks to Jensen, Jared and Misha for making this journey so special. It is now most important to us to give these characters that we love the sendoff they deserve,” executive producers Robert Singer and Andrew Dabb said in a joint statement.
“Well, it’s official. One more round for the Winchester brothers. Though nothing ever really ends in Supernatural…does it?” Ackles wrote alongside a video of the show’s three stars announcing the news Friday.
Supernatural currently ranks as the longest-running sci-fi/genre series in the history of American broadcast television. The drama, created by Eric Kripke and produced by Warner Bros. TV, started on the former WB Network and carried over when the younger-focused broadcaster became a joint venture between WBTV and CBS TV Studios to form The CW. Supernatural will have aired 327 episodes when it concludes sometime next season. It is the lone show from the WB Network era to remain alive.
Supernatural’s impressive longevity has become a joke of sorts among the press and CW president Mark Pedowitz, who opened his time before the Television Critics Assocation’s winter press tour in January with a nod to the recently announced 15th season renewal. “Now that Supernatural has been picked up, are there any other questions?” he deadpanned before adding that the series has been the lead-in/lead-out for “almost all our successful shows” as it has the network’s most balanced audience. Pedowitz has often noted that Supernatural would run as long as Padalecki and Ackles wanted to continue the series. “As long as the ratings hold up and the guys want to do it, we’re in,” the exec said in January. “It’s really that simple. They have created something of these two brothers we’ve had these discussions that actually transcends anything. … [I]f I could find a way that it stays the whole time on and it still holds up and the studio can still figure out how to do it, we’re all in.”
Sources note that stars Padalecki and Ackles have used the show to supplement their income with appearances at fan conventions dedicated to the cult series. The duo are also said to own a plane that they use to shuttle between the show’s Vancouver set and conventions on the weekend that can often be more profitable than the money they earn doing the series that helped launch their side gig.
“We just told the crew that though we’re very very excited about moving into our 15th season, it will be our last. Fifteen years of a show that has certainly changed my life, I know it’s changed these two guys’ life. And we just wanted you to hear from us that though we’re excited about next year, it will be the finale. The big, grand finale of an institution,” Ackles said. “I will say this, a little word from Eric Kripke, the creator about this world and these characters, that in a show about family, it is amazing and it is the pride of his life that it became a family. So thank you guys for that.”
Supernatural is currently averaging a 0.8 rating among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 2.4 million total viewers with seven days of delayed viewing. It still performs better than more than half of The CW’s lineup, including previously renewed series Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, the latter of which will also wrap next season.
Pedowitz and The CW have tried at least three times to develop a spinoff of Supernatural to no avail. Pedowitz conceded that he likely was done trying to do so and attributed the show’s success to Padalecki and Ackles. Supernatural has been the gift that keeps on giving to WBTV, with the independent studio profiting from the SVOD sale of the show’s 300-plus episodes to Netflix. The streaming deal has, like other shows, helped bring new viewers into first-run episodes on the linear network.
With both Supernatural and Arrow officially ending during the 2019-2020 season, The CW is entering a period of change after the network will say farewell to critical favorites Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this year. This pilot season, The CW is already moving full steam ahead on the “next generation” of DC fare with a Ruby Rose-led Batwoman expected to be picked up to series. The network is also looking to spin off its other top shows into franchises with offshoots of Jane the Virgin (anthology Jane the Novela) and Riverdale‘s Katy Keene.
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