Inside the Office of The CW’s Mark Pedowitz

Mark Pedowitz CW Office
Ye Rin Mok for Variety

Mark Pedowitz has been guiding the CW as network president for just over four years from his corner office in Burbank’s Pinnacle complex. The inviting space is peppered with symbols of current success, from bound volumes of classic DC Comics to a signed poster of longrunning “Supernatural.” A custom-made Scrabble board framed on the wall serves as a reminder of previous achievements. The going-away present from when he departed ABC lists “generous” and “integrity” among his best traits. Then there’s the board with the current broadcast TV schedule, reinforcing his net’s sudden stability. The CW’s most-watched season since 2008 produced dual sensations in “The Flash” and “Jane the Virgin.” As he notes, “I hope we put the final nail in the coffin (of the perception) that we’re a young girls’ network.”

No one will mistake Pedowitz for a cat person. There’s an entire shelf behind his desk dedicated to photos of the various bloodhounds and Basset hounds his wife and he have rescued over the years: 14 canines in all. “My wife and my dogs are my center,” he says. The Basset hound statue was a gift, and the tutu a playful prank by a colleague’s former assistant. “I’ve just left them like that because I thought it was funny.”

“I have a bunch of ‘Lost’ toys around here,” Pedowitz says of the white Be@rbrick figure emblazoned with the Dharma logo. In keeping with the show, many of those knickknacks are hidden, Easter-egg style. “It goes all over the place.”

Not too long ago, Pedowitz arrived at work and found his parking space occupied. “I did what any self-respecting ex-New Yorker would do. I blocked the car and made sure they couldn’t get out. I told the attendant, ‘Move their f-in’ car. Tow it.’” Then he met “Jane” co-star Justin Baldoni for a digital pitch. “He was feeling good about himself, went downstairs, and realized he had parked in my spot,” Pedowitz laughs. “He sent that (sign) over. I appreciated that he has a sense of humor.”

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  1. I cannot believe this is an official interview of a president of network. To ignore core target audience like this? And he expects getting ratings by this interview? The downfall of CW drama ratings is caused by poor writings, not by “some kind of” audience. The improvement of CW TV shows should start from hiring good writers. Now let’s guess. What’s the president should do first? It’ not insulting core target audience in public.

  2. Robijean says:

    I don’t know why so many people are upset by his comment. For years I had to constantly state to people I was not a teenage girl but a woman in her 50’s watching Supernatural. The perception of most people at that time was “ONLY” very young pre-teens and teenage girls watched the CW.

    Dawn Ostroff had created that perception. When enough Supernatural viewers stated they were men or adult women; people who were refusing to watch anything that was on the CW said they were going to give Supernatural a try.

    I guess the reason I didn’t find his comment of line is because of the many times for a number of years that I had to cope with so many people telling me that 12 to 15 years old girls were the only ones watching the CW. It was a major point trying to convince them otherwise especially with the program director doing everything she could to get rid of the shows attracting older females and male viewers.

    I should state I hate romantic comedies with a passion and am devoted to genre shows.

  3. News flash Perdowitz: Girls are interested in a wide variety of things. Yeah, there are girls who are into Gossip Girl, Gimore Gilrs, and other “female oriented media” but we also like to delve in science fiction and fantasy. Most of the people I know who watch Supernatural are girls. Same with Arrow and the Flash. Like Supernatural wouldn’t have lasted 10+ seasons if it weren’t for girls. You should be thanking us not “putting the nail in the coffin.”

  4. …The most diplomatic thing that can be said about Mark Pedowitz’s vision for the CW is that at least it’s unambiguous. Pedowitz doesn’t want his network to be associated with whatever he imagines young females to be interested in.

    Y’all remember that show Supernatural? The CW’s most successful and the longest consecutively running sci-fi show in US history? The viewership of which is comprised significantly, if not overwhelmingly, of young females? I grew up on this show. And I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but I, like most women, was recently a young female. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

    If there are stories out there better than the stories you think girls like, invite us to engage with this higher quality media. When you tell us that the stories that you’d *like* tell to would be wasted on us, you tell us exactly what you think we’re worth. (Except, spoiler, if you’re making shows that a minimum of 2 young females watch, congratulations: you’re making shows for young females.)

    CW Network, I trust you’ll be perfectly willing to cut checks refunding the astronomical amount of money poured into Supernatural merchandise and conventions by young female fans over 10 years so we can pour it into a network that doesn’t assign us interests or priority based on the meatsuits we showed up in.

    (Not sure what about a third of 2.19 million people is, but you should probably start writing. I’ll wait.)

    • Ramona says:

      Dawn Ostroff was fired because her pandering to “young girls” and creation of a niche market around shows like Gossip Girl almost drove the network under. Pedowitz came in to salvage it and has been succeeding (see the lead — most viewed season for the CW since 2008), mainly by bringing in older female viewers and male viewers (both lucrative to ad sales, which is what he, as the head of a business, is most concerned about). And, for the record, merchandising has nothing to do with the network (learn the difference between the network and the studio) and conventions are unrelated to either and are separate entities. You can go to all the conventions you want, but that isn’t going to sell cars for the advertisers that Pedowitz is working for and with.

  5. niraha says:

    Are you kidding me? Way to tell your main demo that we are not wanted. No wonder Supernatural’s story lines have went downhill the last few years, and Misha’s involvement has declined (Misha is a huge draw for the “just girls” demo- in fact he is about 80-90% of why I watch the show… Charlie was a huge reason, too, after her introduction, but she wasn’t wanted either apparently so they killed her off- she was “just a girl”, you know. Who needs her right?). Guess if you don’t want my views, I will be streaming it online from now on.

  6. Cogn8 says:

    Why bite the hand that feeds you? He could have said – “we’re so happy to be attracting more viewers and making better content for our loyal fans.’ Instead he went out of his way to tell the people who are STILL the core demo for his network that he doesn’t value them. But CW has the weirdest PR I’ve ever seen. I just find it fascinating – it’s like Fox putting down semi-senile white guys and saying ‘ finally, we’ve attracted some teen girls’! But then – sounds like Pedowitz watches Fox.

    • “it’s like Fox putting down semi-senile white guys and saying ‘ finally, we’ve attracted some teen girls’”

      Excellent analogy. It’s as though there’s some finite amount of space for fans and young females are taking up more than our share. If only we’d make room for those more respectable notional adult males that would surely flood in and stop ruining the CW’s street cred by…you know, being.

  7. Cynthia says:

    I absolutely love the show Supernatural and can hardly wait for season 11!! The cast and crew are one of the best on TV!! Great job done choosing!! It would be a MAJOR CATASTROPHE if the show was cancelled or the cast would not or could not sign their contracts.

  8. Maggie says:

    I am deeply offended by Pedowitz’s comment about “putting the final nail in the coffin” about the perception that the CW is not a network for young girls. If you dont want young girls flocking to your network maybe you should think twice about having shows like “Jane the Virgin” and the “Vanpire Diaries and even “Supernatural”. Honestly I don’t know what you thought was going to happen. You have shows with all these attractive men and expect women and young girls to not want to watch. What kind of television do you think women watch? Does Pedowitz think women should not be allowed to watch television? And don’t even get me started on Supernatural’s queer bating problem (just let Dean and Cas be together already). Your joke of a network needs all the viewers it can get and that means young girls too.

    • niraha says:

      Hallelujah, Maggie! My sentiments exactly. The queer baiting is disgusting, and now they managed to erase any evidence of queerness they had by pointlessly murdering one of the best characters they’ve had- Charlie. Not shocking though. Not only was she gay, but she was a woman. We can’t have any of those icky gays or women on this show, can we? I’m almost done, I swear. It won’t take much more to lose me at this point, and I definitely am not going to be watching through legit channels anymore, not until they get their crap together and start respecting the fans and the characters.
      If they didn’t want to go put Dean and Cas together, maybe they shouldn’t have written them with romantic tropes from the very start. Cutting Misha’s screen time, and Cas’ presence around the Winchesters, is not going to erase the past. It is time to go for it, but sadly I think they would rather run the show into the ground with crap like unhealthy codependency and murdering loved characters at every turn, not to mention the non-cohesive plots.

    • Kay says:

      Supernatural was created in the WB era. Vampire Diaries was a show created in the Dawn era. Pedowitz did not create these shows. In besides Supernatural audience is actually split 50/50 with it’s male and female audience in the average age is over 35.

      In please leave shipping out of this. You speak the same tone like many entitled fans from different fanbases. Different show same line. In another thing just to chew on, no show should appease to fandom it’s all about appeasing to the people with the boxes. They are the ones that is not in fandom in with a broader view. No show should cater because it to many sides. The focus is to tell a cohesive story in hope the people with the boxes likes it.

      • Anna Dawson says:

        If the focus is to tell a cohesive story, Supernatural has been failing miserably.

        I do agree though that if they would stop worrying about catering to certain fanbases (i.e men) and just produce good shows, it won’t be an issue because they will get a variety of viewers. The shows they have that get more diverse viewers, like the Flash, are rich, full shows that serve ALL of their characters well and pay attention to their show’s own history and canon (granted Flash has only been on for a season and could fall apart later). Supernatural could take a lot of lessons here.

        Still don’t understand why he needs to make it sound like having a female audience is an embarrassing affliction.

  9. chris morgan says:

    when I first started watching supernatural it was on The WB and I was ashamed of the fact that I would watch anything on The WB but of course I made an exception for Sam and Dean. looking back 10 years later I’m still here and I love almost every show on the CW the flash Jane the virgin even arrow but especially supernatural thank you for 11 years of my favorite show ever!!!

  10. Melanie Desi says:

    I have so much respect for the work that Mr. Pedowitz has done with the CW programming. I knew the Network was in good hands when he recognized the gem he has in Supernatural.
    He’s built on the strengths of existing shows — spinning off The Originals from Vampire Diaries, putting Supernatural back in the game — and developed the fabulous DC action properties Arrow and the Flash.
    CW is my favorite channel.

  11. I Love Supernatural and I’m a young twenty something female. To the people complaining.. if you don’t like the show don’t watch, because this show is most likely in it’s last year and it’s not going to change now. Bitter fans are THE WORST!

  12. Anna Dawson says:

    It’s disappointing that CW has no respect for their female audience.

    • Melanie Desi says:

      I don’t believe that’s true. He’s including programming like Jane the Virgin and Beauty & the Beast that have higher young women viewing demographics. Perhaps he should have said “I hope we put the final nail in the coffin (of the perception) that we’re ONLY a young girls’ network.” The previous network head programmed ONLY for young women and that was how the CW was viewed.

      • Anna Dawson says:

        If that is what he meant he should be more careful with his phrasing. What he said carries an air of wanting to be dissociated with having women watch the network, which is really disrespectful considering without us the network probably wouldn’t exist.

  13. kat says:

    Thank you as a grown 40 yr old woman I appreciate 10 years of Supernatural. I also applaud you all for hopefully putting the nail in the coffin if being a young girls network. Please don’t fall for the pandering they are not your target audience.

    • I don’t care if I’m not the “target” audience. I watch Supernatural because I like the story and the characters. I can’t enjoy a story two brothers fighting evil and creating a new family along the way because I’m not a man? That isn’t putting a nail in the coffin, that’s biting the hand that feeds you. Young women are the reason Supernatural has lasted this long, not 40 year old women or even men.

    • KP says:

      LOL Kat, really? You think a 40 year old is the *TARGET* audience of the CW? LOL ok

  14. Thanks for sharing a little about yourself! I’m glad to hear that the CW plans to continue diverse programming–I love Supernatural (of course) and I’m getting into Arrow and The Flash as well. Better late than never, right? I heard a twitter rumor that the CW might pick up Constantine awhile back…I’d love to see that happen too!
    Thanks for giving us 10 going on 11 seasons of Supernatural and Sam and Dean–I can’t wait to see more :)

    • The target audience of the CW is probably males 18-35–just like every other network out there. However, women in their 30s and 40s are also a valued demographic because unlike most teens we have disposable income AND we make many of the financial decisions for our households. Generally speaking, those are the kind of people advertisers want to see watching their commercials, and that is who the CW wants watching their shows as a result. It’s just basic business.

      Everyone acting like Pedowitz hates young girls because of this statement is completely missing the point: he’s trying to convince advertisers to support his network and spend money buying time in the shows that network airs. That’s it.

      And for the record, I was 32 when I started watching in 2005, and 95% of the people I know that watch Supernatural are over 30, men and women. It’s not geared specifically toward teens; it appeals to a wide range of ages and interests, which is why it’s still on the air.

    • kat says:

      Ha ha I was 30 when my brother and I started watching faithfully. The only thing that harms this show is the blatant disrespect for writers and producers. When the younger fans who haven’t spent the last ten years faithfully watching Harass, and threaten to force a straight character gay is wrong. BEFORE you all come at me with the Homophobic comment I have been OUT &Proud since I was 13. I just don’t believe in forcing straight people gay or gay people straight. AS FOR THE BITCHING ABOUT side characters being killed go back 10 years everyone one dies . BTW Felicia Day (Charlie) Has a book tour coming up for her new book so she was most likely unavailable. Maybe that could be why her character was iced…

  15. sisselauisk says:

    “I hope we put the final nail in the coffin (of the perception) that we’re a young girls’ network.” Nice thing to say about your audience. I’m not even a young girl and I feel offended.

    • Marion says:

      There is nothing wrong with saying that. As president of the network, he has the duty of maintaining high ratings. He got the network’s highest ratings since 2008, so obviously he’s doing something right. Nothing wrong with changing the network’s direction (and that includes the demographic audience) if the previous direction had proven its failure.

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