Entertainment

“Bring It On”: CW Boss Mark Pedowitz Stares Down an Unsure Future


The CW first launched in 2006 as a hybrid community, a mix of the shuttered UPN (owned by CBS) and WB (owned by Warner Bros.). At beginning, it inherited a number of collection—most notably, Supernatural, which remains to be operating 13 years later. But after 14 seasons, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are lastly able to kiss their characters (and that Chevy Impala) goodbye. They usually’re not alone: the CW additionally not too long ago let Loopy Ex-Girlfriend exit on a excessive be aware, whereas its different essential darling, Jane the Virgin, is already partway by means of its closing season. Oh, and Arrow, which launched the community’s common superhero slate, will even finish with its upcoming season.

However although the CW is at a serious inflection level, the community’s president, Mark Pedowitz, is assured in what it has deliberate for the long run.

“I feel we are incredibly stable in a not-stable world, let’s put it that way,” Pedowitz instructed V.F. in a current interview. And whereas this yr’s community Upfront shows have revealed a lot of uncertainty—particularly within the face of the varied mergers and vertical integrations rocking the leisure world—Pedowitz insists that in contrast to its rivals, the CW is aware of the place and the way viewers wish to watch its exhibits. “We’ve understood from the beginning our programming crosses many platforms, with linear broadcast being the start of it all,” he mentioned. “And we understand where our audience is coming from.”

On Thursday morning, the CW introduced its schedule for the 2019-20 season, with three new collection on the way in which: the Ruby Rose-starring Batwoman, Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene, and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Nancy Drew adaptation. The community additionally renewed all 5 of its freshman collection, together with Roswell, New Mexico and All American, with older stalwarts like DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and The 100 set to return midseason.

Whereas he sounded sanguine concerning the departures of a number of veteran collection—“transitions are part of our business,” he mentioned—Pedowitz additionally addressed the tip of Supernatural, a collection that had a house on the CW so long as Ackles and Padalecki have been recreation to stay round. When the 2 lastly determined to say goodbye, Pedowitz mentioned, “It was a puddle of tears from everybody.” Nonetheless, he received their reasoning: “It was about family, about seeing their kids grow up. They wanted to go out when the show was still as strong as possible. And as much as I probably begged for them not to do this, I understood . . . and basically we all were on the same page.”

Arrow will even exit with its eighth season—and with Disney readying its personal slate of streaming superhero exhibits, the competitors for the eye of comic-book followers might be fiercer than ever. When requested if he was fearful about going through the Marvel-verse with out Inexperienced Arrow, Pedowitz touted the success of the CW’s personal DC Universe—an expansive franchise that encompasses The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lightning, and Legends of Tomorrow.

“We consider that as Arrow leaves, Batwoman comes on,” Pedowitz mentioned. “I’ve to offer Greg [Berlanti] and his whole workforce nice kudos within the sense that they weave a universe that matches collectively. It’s good being mimicked by others.”

The brand new schedule, he implied, might actually have a worthy successor to status darlings Jane the Virgin and Loopy Ex-Girlfriend. “Time will tell,” Pedowitz mentioned, “however we consider Within the Darkish is a really provocative, humorous present . . . It’s a darker comedy than the opposite two.” (The present stars Perry Mattfeld as an irreverent blind girl named Murphy; it debuted this April.) Pedowitz can also be optimistic about Glamorous, a comedy pilot about a gender nonconforming teenager starring Ben J. Pierce and Brooke Shields. Though the CW handed on that pilot for now, Pedowitz mentioned it’s nonetheless being thought of for a potential pickup after some retooling; he described the collection as each culturally present and provocative.

Maybe probably the most shocking pilot go this season, although, was Jane the Novela—a Jane the Virgin spin-off from show-runner Jennie Snyder Urman, with Gina Rodriguez serving alongside Snyder Urman as an government producer and likewise taking up narration obligation. The collection was conceived as an anthology collection, every season bringing one other of the fictional Jane’s romance novels to life. For now, Pedowitz mentioned, Snyder Urman “wants to take a little bit of a breather.”

“We all liked what the idea was,” he mentioned of the pilot. “It just didn’t quite get there. We also said to [Snyder Urman] very clearly [that] we wanna stay in business with her and this franchise, and if ever she’s up and ready to go, we would be glad to have that conversation.”

One other pilot being reworked is The Misplaced Boys, from iZombie show-runner Rob Thomas. The reboot of that 80s teen-vampire traditional has been within the works for years, however earlier this month it was introduced that the collection was being reworked as soon as extra. “We know what didn’t work, we know what did work,” Pedowitz mentioned. “They are busy at work trying to retool it.” He expects to see one other model this summer time.

If there’s one factor we will take away from this yr’s Upfront week, it’s that the TV panorama is concurrently increasing—there are extra platforms and collection now than ever—but additionally contracting, as conglomerates merge. One factor that hasn’t modified is a thirst amongst advertisers and digital platforms for a younger viewers—the demographic the CW has all the time focused. Though rivals like Netflix are onerous at work launching their very own slates of juvenile programming, Pedowitz stays unfazed: “Bring it on,” he mentioned.

“We consider in ourselves. We consider in how we work with our studio companions—each Warner Brothers and CBS—and our present writers together with Mr. Berlanti and Julie Plec and Jennie Urman and Jason Rothenberg. We all know what you’re gonna get, and we’re massive believers in permitting the imaginative and prescient of our show-runners to take maintain.”

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Laura Bradley

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