[07/30/12 - 10:56 AM]
The CW at TCA: Pedowitz Talks Lessons from Last Season, Ambitions for New Season
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- "It's amazing what happens when you have just a phone call and a discussion," The CW President Mark Pedowitz told reporters about last week's news that the network was considering a small screen take on the cult Japanese film franchise "Battle Royale." "We'd love to do it. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a deal with the producers, and we'll see where it goes. But at this point in time, it's just a discussion for development."

Said comments came during the netlet's executive session at the TCA Summer Press Tour, during which Pedowitz addressed a slew of topics:

-- On the chief takeaway from "Ringer": "One of the things you learn about the level of these serialized shows is less may be more. 22 might have been too many. So if there's ever a consideration that we do it, we'd probably go anywhere between 6 and 13." He would add that, "when [Sarah Michelle Gellar's] ready, she would love to come back, and The CW would love to have her at The CW either as an actress or as a producer."

-- Pedowitz affirmed they plan to air the remaining episodes of "The L.A. Complex" produced to date this summer (click here for more on how that will work). "The show actually does really well for us digitally and in the social media space. I think it's a well-made show with the show right down in the wheelhouse. There's a sense of reality of what it's like to try to make it in the Hollywood area in the entertainment industry; supportive of it, great showrunners. Marty Gero is just fantastic. I hope to be in business with him for a long time."

-- On how its "Gossip Girl" send-off and midseason plans going forward: "We will run 10 episodes this year, and it will end in mid-December. We felt that, to get 'Carrie Diaries' also out of the clutter of the fall, the best time to launch it would be mid-January, and the goal for both 'Carrie Diaries' and for 'Cult' was to run them 13 straight.

-- "I wish it performed slightly better in the ratings," Pedowitz said about its summer entry "Breaking Pointe." "But one thing I can say is it's a digital online success, a combination between CWTV.com, Hulu, and our app, we're seeing great digital numbers, and it's under consideration for continuing."

-- Pedowitz likewise assured that "The Selection" is still being considered for series. "The producers and writers have gone back and are re scripting as we speak. We'll hopefully see something soon or make a determination whether to go forward. Big believer in the show. I really wanted a show that had a 'Game of Thrones'/'Hunger Games' tone, and we hope it's 'The Selection.' If it's not, then we will look at another arena to go to in terms of that."

-- "Supernatural" was a "no question" renewal. "The guys are great. The show is great. We felt that it deserved another crack, particularly having... a lead out from 'Arrow,' because it did so well when 'Smallville' was there. So we're big believers in the show." As for the new season, Pedowitz teased that "there will be a lapse of time before Dean gets out of Purgatory, and Sam will have been on his happy way for a period of time without hunting for anything. So it will take off with the two brothers once more."

-- As for "Hart of Dixie," the executive said the show "really found its legs" by the end of the season. "'Hart of Dixie' was the leading streamed show on Hulu for us, and in terms of where it's going, the love triangle on 'Hart of Dixie' will continue."

-- On expanding the network's target demographic: "We're an adult 18-34 network. We are in need of having some men come to our network. The loss of 'Smallville' actually had an impact to us. We believe particularly with 'Arrow,' as much as it appeals to men, Stephen seems to have sort of an appeal to women also.

-- Pedowitz also teased what's on tap for "The Vampire Diaries" - "As you know, the season ended with Elena becoming a vampire, and the goal is how she adjusts to her being a vampire and does she follow Stefan's path or does she follow Damon's path? So does the vampire bloodlust get her or not?" - as well as "Nikita" - "She is now not alone. She and Ryan are running Division. They will be searching out the rogue agents. It's a little bit of a Scooby Doo gang in terms now, so she's not just a lone assassin trying to avenge everything. She's part of a team and family, and she and Michael will continue their romantic interest."

-- He also affirmed his desire to continue to expand into comedy. "Interest is very strong," he said. "We developed about eight scripts last year. There were two that we're very interested in. We may until we stabilize the schedule a little bit, which will be after this fall, we'll re look at it. Thom Sherman and his team are actually okay to go develop other comedies if they can find them. We may end up actually doing them through digital as a way to get them done in the different form. We are looking at whether they should be single camera or multi-camera. They have to be different for us, but they have to have a strong female perspective."

-- And finally, Pedowitz indicated their "TV Now!" re-branding is a reflection of their attitude about ratings. "We are aggregated across the board with a lot of viewers. The digital streaming numbers on our shows combined with Hulu and Netflix and CWTV.com and the app are astronomical. So we look at it vastly different. We can monitor or we can measure who's watching us on digital, but it does not count with the Nielsen ratings. And Nielsen is trying to do the best they can. And us, the networks, the advertisers, the affiliates are all looking for an accurate measurement so that every person is counted who's actually watching the show."

  [july 2012]  


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