As part of the TCA Press Tour presentation for The CW, President Mark Pedowitz took some time to talk about returning faces for the Fall, increased episode orders for a number of their already-established shows, the interest in developing other DC Comics properties now that Smallville has ended, and the possibility of remakes and re-boots of previous projects. Here are the most interesting points:
- One of the big goals of The CW is for more original programming, so that their TV shows don’t take as long of a break between episodes around the holiday season.
- The new Fall season will kick off on Monday, September 12th with a special on Lady Gaga.
- The CW is thrilled to be the home of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel Bilson’s return to television, with Ringer (premiering on September 13th) and Hart of Dixie (premiering on September 26th), respectively.
- There will be more original episodes this season for returning series Supernatural, Nikita, Gossip Girl and 90210, and the final season for One Tree Hill is currently set for 13 episodes in mid-season.
- This upcoming season is not intended to be the final season of Supernatural. They are hoping to keep the series going, but will evaluate it, one season at a time.
- Mark Pedowitz is a big believer in keeping casts together and hopes that the network will be able to do just that with the cast of Gossip Girl, even though they have busy film careers.
- After the success of Smallville, the network is looking at possible DC Comics superheroes to develop for series next year.
- They are very receptive to new projects that Tom Welling may be developing, either as the star or producer.
Hit the jump for more of what he had to say.
MARK PEDOWITZ: We ordered two additional episodes each of Gossip Girl and 90210, taking them to 24 episodes, one additional episode each of Nikita and Supernatural, taking them to 23 episodes.
Is there any particular reason that we didn’t get more episodes of The Vampire Diaries?
PEDOWITZ: The only reason is that we could not achieve it on a production basis. Kevin Williamson felt, to make the best show possible, he needed to do 22 episodes. We would have loved to have had more, but I’d rather have a great 22, then have 24, if Kevin couldn’t do it.
What can you say about what’s coming up this season on The Vampire Diaries?
PEDOWITZ: There will obviously be the triangle between Stefan (Paul Wesley), Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Nina Dobrev). We will see whether Stefan can stay evil or good, and we will see where Damon comes up. We’ll also definitely see where Klaus (Joseph Morgan) goes, and whether the hybrids will work.
Since Gossip Girl launched, many of the stars have sort of gone on to do a lot of film work. How committed are you to keeping them on the show? Do you feel like the show can continue on, if you replace the original cast?
PEDOWITZ: Well, I’m a big believer in casts staying together, from my prior experience at ABC Studios and the many shows I did there. We hope that Blake [Lively] and the whole cast can stay together, as long as possible. When we have to cross that bridge, we will, and we’ll see what we can do.
How many episodes will make up the final season of One Tree Hill?
PEDOWITZ: At this point, it’s 13.
Is there a possibility for One Tree Hill to be extended to a longer final season, or is it just a solid 13?
PEDOWITZ: At this point, it’s a final 13. But, you never want to say never to something because you don’t know what will happen, as your schedule launches. We have sat with (executive producer) Mark Schwahn and his team, and we said that 13 is the right amount to close it off.
Do you know how many episodes James Lafferty has signed on for, or is that still up in the air?
PEDOWITZ: I do know it’s for multiple episodes. I just don’t remember the exact amount.
Is this going to be the last season for Supernatural? If not, how many more are you committed to?
PEDOWITZ: It is not intended to be the last season. We will see where the ratings go. I personally hope, and I think we all at The CW hope, that this show keeps on going. At the moment, we look at one season at a time.
What’s your theory as to why it’s lasted so long?
PEDOWITZ: It’s the love of two brothers. It’s not about the demon-of-the-week. It’s about the love of two brothers, and it’s these two really good-looking guys. I think that transcends the supernatural piece, at the end of the day.
PEDOWITZ: I’m grateful CBS did not have a lot of holes to fill, and I’m grateful to Nina Tassler and her team, and David Stapf, and CBS Studios to allow us to look at Ringer. After we watched it, we came to the conclusion that we had to have it. And, to have Sarah Michelle Gellar back on the stage and back on The CW network, is a fantastic thing.
Even though her previous series, Life Unexpected, didn’t connect with viewers, is Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle) someone that you see as having real CW appeal?
PEDOWITZ: From your lips to God’s ears. I believe that Britt could be a breakout star for us, and that would be great.
When Smallville was coming to an end, we’d heard that The CW was looking at possible other DC Comics, including the character of Raven. Is Raven still in development, or are there other DC characters you might look at?
PEDOWITZ: That was before I got to the company. We are looking, next year, to do superheroes, if the right superhero comes to be. Having Warner Bros. as one of our partner companies, and their having DC Comics, makes it very intriguing to find the right superhero.
You came to The CW at a time when Smallville was ending. If you could have turned the clock back, do you think that show would have had life left in it, beyond the point that it ended?
PEDOWITZ: That was a decision made before my time, and I have no opinion about that. I think they did a great job delivering a finale to its fans.
Has Tom Welling approached you to produce any other shows for the network?
PEDOWITZ: Well, I know Tom is probably in development right now. I do hope that he comes back to The CW, and I do hope he comes with a show that he wants to star in. We would be very receptive to the whole thing.
How did the Lady Gaga special come about? Was it pre-packaged, or did you have to develop it?
PEDOWITZ: We were given a phone call to take a look at this special that was done in France with Jean Paul Gaultier. We saw it and we jumped on it. We moved as quickly as possible. We saw a really great opportunity to put it on September 12th, to help launch our Fall season. It was made for French TV, but it’s all in English.
PEDOWITZ: Right now, we’re in the beginning of the season, so we are just beginning to go to that place. We will look to get high-concept serialized shows. We’re not going to walk away from our serialized programming. But at the same time, we’re going to have a deep focus to find that great, closed-ended show that has that CW feel to it, so that it’s more than the run-of-the-mill, closed-ended procedural. It is our goal to have those shows. We need those shows. It will help our repeats. That’s where we’re headed, at this point.
Is it part of The CW’s new strategy to develop star vehicles for actors and actresses who are already iconic among Gen X and Gen Y?
PEDOWITZ: I would love to say that was our strategy, but we lucked out. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage came in before I was even with the company, to develop Hart of Dixie, and Rachel [Bilson] was attached to it. That was just a great piece of luck. And, Sarah Michelle Gellar came along with Ringer, and that was a no-brainer. I would love to have seen Claire Danes, instead of being on a Showtime series (Homeland), on The CW. So, we are looking for the right talent, yes, but on the whole, it’s not a strategy, per se.
Are you still closed to comedy pitches, or are you open to them again?
PEDOWITZ: We are opening ourselves up to look at comedies this year. We feel there are comedies out there that would have worked well on The CW, such as 2 Broke Girls, Apartment 23 and New Girl. So, if it’s the right thing, we’ll look to develop it.
What is your philosophy, in regard to rebooting shows from 10 or 20 years ago, for a new generation. Are you looking at any of those actively, or do you have your own personal wish list?
PEDOWITZ: Well, we all have our own personal wish list. I do believe in remakes. I believe that new twists on a great idea can work. It just depends on what the remix is. A great example of that is Battlestar Galactica. They really did a great job re-booting something. At the end of the day, The CW did a fantastic job rebooting 90210. I do believe in remakes.
The CW starts a lot of shows early, in front of the Fall crush and just before the Emmys, but then a lot of the shows take long breaks over Christmas. Is that something you’d like to do less of?
PEDOWITZ: We need more original programming. We have more original programming going into the season. It’s our intention to try to prevent that. Unfortunately, production schedules sometimes dictate the need to take these breaks. We plan to run, starting September 12th, straight through the first week of December, except for the Thanksgiving weekend. And then, we’ll take a break, based on the December holiday.