The CW CEO, Mark Pedowitz, knows fans of his network’s programming are genuinely upset by this season’s atypical round of cancellations.
The executive came prepared for his pre-call with reporters early Thursday with a message to viewers: He tried. Broadcast’s longest-serving network topper has a history of giving its long-running scripted originals a fitting farewell – see Thursday’s announcement for the upcoming season of Riverdale would be his last – and shows up like the axe legacies were encouraged to write in the direction of a series Final.
“We encouraged all producers [of the bubble shows] treating their finals as if they could be series Final. We wanted to do the right thing for the show and for the fans. …Unfortunately, some fans lose from these decisions and that’s never anyone’s intention,” Pedowitz told the press, among others The Hollywood Reporter during his annual Upfronts call. It was at this point that Pedowitz realized he was having a conversation with him the Vampire Diaries Captain Julie Plec and promised legacies, the conclusion of the three-show franchise, would have a proper finale.
After years of renewing nearly its entire roster of US screenplay originals, The CW has scrapped half of its roster. Batwoman, Charmed, Dynasty, In the Dark, Legacies, Legends of Tomorrow and Roswell are all gone from The CW’s newly announced schedule for 2022-23. Beginner The 4400 and DC’s Naomi didn’t make it either, as The CW only added three new shows to its roster as a sale to broadcast group likely owner Nexstar looms.
The network is being sold because its business model no longer makes financial sense for its parent companies, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery. With Netflix’s $1 billion output deal ending, the originals moved to Paramount+ and HBO Max, as The CW also retains lucrative overseas rights to programs like walker and its new spin-off, Walker: Independence.
“I understand [the cancellation] The pattern was different than previous years and I can understand why it came as a bit of a shock to fans,” Pedowitz said. “None of these decisions were easy. We had lengthy discussions with our studios and parent companies, and everyone recognized that this was a transitional time for The CW. Difficult financial and strategic decisions were made at all levels.”
After Pedowitz lost half of his scripted originals, Pedowitz’s new fall schedule includes additional unscripted fares (Magic with the Stars) and foreign acquisitions (Family Law Professionals) instead of signature series like super girl (which ended last season). Despite increasing reliance on foreign and unscripted series, and with its upcoming sale to Nexstar, Pedowitz remains committed to the script. “The ownership shift does not change our goals for our company for 2022-23,” he said, emphasizing that “content was never a factor” in termination decisions.
While Pedowitz noted the upcoming sale will take time, he hopes that once a deal is in place, its new owner will help The CW expand into half-hour scripted originals and programs from studios outside of Warners and CBS. (CW’s current model called for half of its programming to come from each of its parent companies.)
“The world is moving at a pace faster than I could have imagined,” Pedowitz remarked when asked how he envisioned the network’s timeline in two to three years. “I hope you’ll see a decent amount of scripting even as we begin this transition to more alternative and acquired programming. I hope we get into the world of the half-hour sitcoms being produced for the network. And I hope that after a sale there will be an opportunity for other producers and studios to join us beyond Warner Bros. and CBS, which means more opportunities.”
Elsewhere, Pedowitz emphasized that The CW “remains in the superhero business” despite its DC Comics lineup being reduced as part of the network’s so-called “Red Wedding.” As Warner Bros. Discovery searches for his version of Marvel’s Kevin Feige to better align its multiple universes across platforms, Pedowitz looks at The CW’s remaining DC dramas The Flash, Superman & Lois, Stargirl and reordered Gotham Knights as “connected” to the features page of DC and HBO Max originals like Titans. “We’re not as robust as we have been in years past… and we want to stay in this business… Sale or not,” he said.
However, Pedowitz did note that he plans to meet with Greg Berlanti – the architect of his vast DC Universe – and the producers to discuss the future of The Lightning. Despite rumors that the final season would be her last, Warners signed new deals with stars like Grant Gustin and renewed the show for its upcoming ninth season. “It’s too early to tell you,” he said THR when asked if The Lightning could join Riverdale End of the 2022/23 season.
In other news, Pedowitz noted that The CW remains upbeat about him Babylon 5 reboots and re-develops for either this season or next, as the younger alignment joins other channels to take over year-round development. The network also works with the creator of Riverdale on one Zoro Update that could also be for 2022-23 or 2023-24.
Keep track of all remaining broadcast pilots THR‘s handy scorecard. For the full list of shows for the 2022-23 season, see our renewal guide.