As part of The CW portion of the TCA Press Tour, network president Mark Pedowitz took some time to discuss current programming, upcoming series and shows in various development stages. During the interview, he talked about how The Carrie Diaries came about, what attracted the network to Cult, the genesis for the possible The Vampire Diaries spin-off about the Originals (with Joseph Morgan and Phoebe Tonkin, and set in New Orleans), that The Selection and Wonderland are still in pilot contention, how the Wonder Woman project Amazon is progressing, their interest in other DC Comics characters, that they are no longer pursuing a Battle Royale series, and how they feel about current shows Supernatural, Beauty and the Beast, Nikita and Hart of Dixie. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
MARK PEDOWITZ: That was a book that was being tracked by Thom Sherman and my predecessor, Dawn Ostroff. It became available. Mike Lombardo at HBO, with Peter Roth’s help at Warner Bros., found a way to get this going. We got ahold of Candace Bushnell. Amy Harris joined us. And we thought it was a great take on what happens, as an origination story, in terms of Carrie Bradshaw, who’s just an iconic character. And having it set in the ‘80s gave it a different take on the whole thing.
With shows like Smallville, Supernatural and Arrow on your network, did Cult speak to you, along those lines?
PEDOWITZ: Well, when I walked into the job, I went to Thom Sherman and the creative team and said, “What piece of material did you develop that you thought should have gotten on the air?” They handed me Cult. I read the script that Rockne [O’Bannon] had. I submitted it to the board. I agreed with my team. We went forward with it. I thought it was a really good piece of material. It’s a great example of a show within a show, and what happens when a TV fan’s passion becomes obsession. I thought it did a really good job with that, and I thought Rockne deserved a shot of getting it on the air.
PEDOWITZ: Well, the genesis of that came from a conversation I had with Warner Bros. Basically, I said, “Look, I’m a big believer, if you have something that’s working and you can incubate it and find a way to get it on the air.” We spoke with Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, and Kevin said, “Let Julie take a run at it. It’s her vision.” So, we’re basically going to focus on the Original family. Klaus is one of the founding fathers in New Orleans, and the show will be set in that venue. Klaus is just a great character and the Original family has such great dysfunctional family dynamics, we felt that that was a great way to go and take the show.
What made you decide to have Phoebe Tonkin do the spin-off?
PEDOWITZ: We thought Phoebe did a really good job in The Secret Circle. We wanted to have her in The CW family.
Is The Selection still in development?
PEDOWITZ: The script just came in, and it’s very well done. We have not made our pilot choices yet, but it’s still in contention.
PEDOWITZ: First off, we’re waiting to see the script. Secondly, we’re busy casting for Diana, as we speak. Hopefully, the script works the way we want. I have not seen David’s project, but I heard David gave us a shout-out and thought it was a good idea for us to do it. By the way, if David ever wants to do a project for The CW, we’ll graciously and willingly be there for him. But, it’s an origination story, in the sense that Smallville was an origination story. I don’t believe that was David’s premise.
Does the success of Arrow help the profile of Amazon? And are you looking at other DC Comics characters that you might be able to use?
PEDOWITZ: With Arrow, when you have Greg Berlanti, Mark Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg as your showrunners, that’s a lot to do with that success. We hope Allen Heinberg will have the same success with what Amazon will be. In terms of other DC characters, we will explore other DC characters, but we also do a lot of exploration of other material with a lot of other great producers.
How many pilots are you eyeing right now, and what is the status of Wonderland?
PEDOWITZ: The script for Wonderland has come in. It’s in contention. We’ll see what happens with it, one way or the other. We’re eyeing between seven and eight pilots for the season. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll make those announcements. We’re not quite there yet.
PEDOWITZ: Nothing has been announced yet. No determination has been made. We are pleased with how Wednesday night has worked out with Arrow being a bona fide hit and Supernatural actually gaining viewers back again. I think the show is creatively in a great place, and there’s always a good shot that that could happen.
How do you feel about Beauty and the Beast, and what is the likelihood of that coming back for a second season?
PEDOWITZ: We’re very pleased, in terms of where it’s going creatively. It’s basically on par with The Secret Circle, with total viewers. We believe the show has a very long run in front of it. We’ve made no announcements about a second season, but based on the passion of the fans, both at E! Online and the People’s Choice Awards, we think we have something in this epic love story between Cat and Vincent.
What makes you feel optimistic that it will go on, even though it’s tracking the same way as a show that you canceled?
PEDOWITZ: The answer to that question is that I believe the show has more growth potential in it, in terms of its creativity and because we’re centered around that love story.
How are you feeling about how Nikita has been performing?
PEDOWITZ: When we moved it to 8 o’clock, it actually started to perform better than it was at its 9 o’clock time period. It’s performing on par with our expectation. I’m a fan of the show.
What do you think about the creative direction of Hart of Dixie?
PEDOWITZ: It’s one of our fun shows. It stands out, on a very tough Tuesday night. It has a very strong DVR presence and VOD, as well as online. I’m very pleased with the creative direction that it’s gone in.
Is it safe to say that, in the wake of recent violent events, you guys are not going to be moving forward on Battle Royale?
PEDOWITZ: It’s very funny. It took on a life of its own. There was one phone call last summer before the press tour, just to see if the books were available. At this point, we are not planning to do anything with Battle Royale.