‘Remote Controlled’: Showrunner Julie Plec on Ending ‘Vampire Diaries,’ the Future of ‘The Originals’

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front and behind the camera.

This week’s episode features Variety executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and editor-at-large Michael Schneider in conversation with Julie Plec, executive producer of CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals.” Plec speaks candidly about the decision to end “The Vampire Diaries” after eight successful seasons, saying the timing felt right to finally close the books on the popular series.

“I just always had to look at what value [could] I continue to add to this show, and if I were to stop adding value, do I believe that it could carry on and be good and be something that that I could be proud of from afar?” says Plec. “If we can’t complete these characters’ journeys full-stop, we’re doing a disservice to the legacy of the show.”

Listen to the full episode with Plec below.

Plec credits the popularity of the “The Vampire Diaries” to the fans who’ve supported it throughout its run.

“I think the model of The CW network is really built on the fan platform more than anything else,” Plec says. “The success or longevity of a series has less to do with the number it’s pulling and more to do with the social footprint…There is a lot about the fan support, on a strictly business level that’s really powerful for that network.”

Now hard at work on the series finale, she knows fans are eagerly anticipating the return of Nina Dobrev, who left the show in season 6. She reveals she, too, would be “heartbroken” if Elena didn’t make an appearance in “Vampire Diaries” final moments.

Plec went on to discuss the upcoming season of “Vampire Diaries” spin-off “The Originals,” saying that the writers draw inspiration from bestselling horror novelist Stephen King.

“We have sort of let our ‘horror flag’ fly in a way that we haven’t in the past,” Plec says. “A lot of the writers … are huge Stephen King fans and love the way that he can create an insidious, horrific energy without defining a singular monster at the top … We’ve attacked this season from that point of view. How can we create a culture of fear within this New Orleans environment and then slowly over the course of a long run really identify the monster at large.”

With pilot season in full swing, Plec has several series in contention, including one with her good friend Greg Berlanti at ABC called “The Marquis” and another at the CW called “Rise.”

Her secret for making successful shows? “Write something good that the people like,” says Plec.

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday.

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