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CW Boss on Post-Netflix Strategy and Finding New Comedy

The CW loves its big franchises, and has found a way to pair them almost too neatly in the fall. Back-to-back nightly lineups include comic-book shows with comic-book shows, remakes with remakes, teens with teens, and families with families.

It makes a lot of sense from a scheduling flow perspective — which makes it ironic that much of the CW’s viewership doesn’t come in a traditional, linear fashion. CW president Mark Pedowitz points out that the network considers itself “the original multiplatform network,” having relied on digital distribution in addition to the regular broadcast run for years.

But that means linear remains important as a launch pad for the shows, Pedowitz said.

As the CW grows its footprint, the network will air 12 hours of original scripted content in the fall — far more than Fox’s seven hours.

“We have scripted programming in every time period, all 12 hours across six days scheduled,” Pedowitz said. “No other network can claim that.”

Not only did the CW renew all 14 of its existing shows, but it has picked up three more: “Batwoman,” “Nancy Drew,” and “Katy Keene.” Two of those three will premiere in the fall.

“We continue to increase the amount of original programming we offer year-round, including a dozen summer shows we have coming up,” said Pedowitz, adding that 70% of its schedule now is original content. “We plan to continue that trend.” (The network still has another summer series, a horror anthology show, that it has not yet officially announced.)

Responding to news that the CW will no longer have an output deal with Netflix going forward, Pedowitz noted that it’s up to Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios, the two studios behind its shows, to figure out those digital plans. (WarnerMedia, for example, is expected to move some of its produced shows to its upcoming streaming platform.) Pedowitz said he didn’t think that would impact the CW’s core business.

“We have a very strong brand and it is really up to our studio partners to decide where the past seasons of our programming goes,” he said. “It’s important to note that the CW is a vital part of their ecosystem. We end up as a platform making these shows popular and they have increased value across the multi-platform system. So, the studio partner companies will figure out where they wish to do with the out-of-season rights… in terms of how we program and strategize, there’s no change whatsoever.”

In lining up compatible shows, “Batwoman,” starring Ruby Rose, airs Sundays at 8 p.m. in front of 9 p.m. tentpole “Supergirl.”

“Launching Sunday was a big success for us last year and we see even more upside with this powerful combo,” Pedowitz said.

The CW also has its original superhero series “The Flash” and “Arrow” (in its final season) paired with each other on Wednesdays. “Arrow” concludes with a 10-episode final season and retrospective. Pedowitz said the network hoped to bring back Emily Bett Rickards at some point for the final season.

Another superhero, “Black Lightning,” will be paired with returning drama “All American” on Mondays; both shows boast African American leads. On Wednesday, creepy teen Archie and his “Riverdale” crew will be paired with a supernatural take on teen detective “Nancy Drew.” That’s notable for both being remakes of popular mid-century characters.

“Supernatural” airs its 15th and final season on Thursdays, where it will run with “Legacies,” the supernatural spinoff of “The Originals” and another long-running CW staple, “The Vampire Diaries.”

Then there’s the CW’s reimagined versions of iconic series “Charmed” and “Dynasty,” which will now air back-to-back on Fridays.

On the bench for midseason, besides “Katy Keene,” are the returns of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “In the Dark,” “Roswell, New Mexico” and “The 100.”

In not picking up the “Jane the Virgin” spinoff “Jane the Novela,” Pedowitz said it didn’t quite get to the point the network wanted creatively. “This particular project did not have what ‘Jane’ had, it didn’t have the same quirkiness and fun,” he said.

The CW has reached out to executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman about potentially creating another “Jane” spinoff, however.

“We are big fans of Jennie Urman and Gina [Rodriguez] and have great appreciation for what they did,” Pedowitz said. “If [Urman] wishes we are very interested in pursuing a potential another spinoff plan for ‘Jane.’ It is in Jennie’s court.”

Although the network’s fall schedule is light on laughs, The CW is looking to potentially retool one pilot, “Glamorous,” to fill that void. (Pedowitz also noted that “In the Dark” contains some humor elements.)

“We are still looking at ‘Glamorous,’ which is a very funny show and we love its uniqueness and its very original concept, and story,” he said. “We are probably going to take a harder look at it once we come back from the upfront. We believe that Ben J. Pierce is a talent that we’d like to keep. It needs some retooling, and we’re going to be in the midst of that with the creative team… to try to get that done so we can move forward with it.”

“Glamorous” stars Pierce as a gender-nonconforming high school grad who lands a dream job at a cosmetics company. Brooke Shields also starred in the pilot, which came from executive producers Damon Wayans Jr., Michael Rauch, and was written by Jordon Nardino and directed by Eva Longoria.

Here’s the CW’s fall schedule:

SUNDAY
8 p.m., “Batwoman” (NEW DRAMA)
9 p.m., “Supergirl”

MONDAY
8 p.m., “All American”
9 p.m., “Black Lightning”

TUESDAY
8 p.m., “The Flash”
9 p.m. “Arrow”

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m., “Riverdale”
9 p.m., “Nancy Drew”

THURSDAY
8 p.m., “Supernatural”
9 p.m., “Legacies”

FRIDAY
8 p.m., “Charmed”
9 p.m., “Dynasty”

And here’s information about the CW’s new dramas:

“BATWOMAN”
Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) never planned to be Gotham’s new vigilante. Three years after Batman mysteriously disappeared, Gotham is a city in despair. Without the Caped Crusader, the Gotham City Police Department was overrun and outgunned by criminal gangs. Enter Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) and his military-grade Crows Private Security, which now protects the city with omnipresent firepower and militia. Years before, Jacob’s first wife and daughter were killed in the crossfire of Gotham crime. He sent his only surviving daughter, Kate Kane, away from Gotham for her safety. After a dishonorable discharge from military school and years of brutal survival training, Kate returns home when the Alice in Wonderland gang targets her father and his security firm, by kidnapping his best Crow officer Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy).

Although remarried to wealthy socialite Catherine Hamilton-Kane (Elizabeth Anweis), who bankrolls the Crows, Jacob is still struggling with the family he lost, while keeping Kate –– the daughter he still has –– at a distance. But Kate is a woman who’s done asking for permission. In order to help her family and her city, she’ll have to become the one thing her father loathes –– a dark knight vigilante. With the help of her compassionate stepsister, Mary (Nicole Kang), and the crafty Luke Fox (Camrus Johnson), the son of Wayne Enterprises’ tech guru Lucius Fox, Kate Kane continues the legacy of her missing cousin, Bruce Wayne, as Batwoman.

Still holding a flame for her ex-girlfriend, Sophie, Kate uses everything in her power to combat the dark machinations of the psychotic Alice (Rachel Skarsten), who’s always somewhere slipping between sane and insane. Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, she must first overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.

Based on the characters from DC, “Batwoman” is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”), Caroline Dries (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Smallville”), Geoff Johns (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Titans”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl”). David Nutter (“Game of Thrones,” “The Flash,” “Arrow”) and Marcos Siega (“The Vampire Diaries,” “You”) executive produced the pilot.

“NANCY DREW”
Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) is a brilliant teenaged detective whose sense of self had come from solving mysteries in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay, Maine – until her mother’s untimely death derails Nancy’s college plans. Devastated by her mother’s passing, Nancy swears off crime-solving while crossing off the days until she can re-apply to college. But when a socialite is murdered, Nancy finds herself a prime suspect in the crime, along with a group of other teens present at the scene: Nancy’s nemesis from high school, George Fan (Leah Lewis); a rich girl with a mysterious past, Bess Marvin (Maddison Jaizani); Nancy’s secret boyfriend, Ned “Nick” Nickerson (Tunji Kasim), and amiable burnout Ace (Alex Saxon). The five of them must team up to clear their own names – encountering emotional entanglements and even more mysteries along the way. Nancy’s reawakening brings her into conflict with her widowed father, Carson Drew (Scott Wolf), who is dating Detective Karen Hart (Alvina August). And, when a supernatural presence begins to haunt Nancy’s investigation, she discovers that the current crime has an astonishing connection to the unsolved murder of a local girl. Whether the ghost is here to help, or hinder Nancy remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Nancy’s going to have to unravel the clues from both the living and the dead to solve the crimes. Executive produced by Noga Landau (“The Magicians”), Melinda Hsu Taylor (“The Gifted,” “The Vampire Diaries”), Josh Schwartz (“Gossip Girl,” “Dynasty,” “Runaways”), Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “Dynasty,” “Runaways”) and Lis Rowinski (“Dynasty,” “Runaways”), “Nancy Drew” is a production of CBS Television Studios in association with Fake Empire.

“KATY KEENE”
A “Riverdale” spinoff, “Katy Keene” follows the lives and loves of four iconic Archie Comics characters — fashion legend-to-be Katy Keene (Lucy Hale), singer/songwriter Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), performer Jorge Lopez/Ginger (Jonny Beauchamp), and “It Girl” Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) — as they chase their twenty-something dreams in New York City…together. Katy designs clothes for anyone she can, including her friend and roommate Josie, whose singing talent catches the attention of Alexander Cabot (Lucien Laviscount), a CEO who hopes to reboot the record label division of his father’s corporate empire. But Alexander’s dream of signing Josie to a recording contract meets resistance from Cabot Media’s powerful senior vice president Alexandra (Camille Hyde), who also happens to be his twin sister. Josie and Katy’s roommate Jorge works at his family’s bodega and has his eye on Broadway, but after a series of rejections, he hopes to take his drag performance career as Ginger to the next level. The mysterious Pepper Smith plans to open her own version of Andy Warhol’s Factory. She has the connections, but no one seems to know where she got her money — or if she really has any at all. Katy struggles to manage the pressures of her day job at Lacy’s Department Store and her very demanding boss, Gloria (Katherine LaNasa), who is a legendary personal shopper. But Katy has the support of her longtime boyfriend, KO Kelly (Zane Holtz), who has his own dream of becoming a professional boxer. As these aspiring artists take on the runway, the recording studio, Broadway, and the NYC social scene, they will find more than just a career in the big city — they’ll find long-lasting friendship. Executive produced by Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Supergirl,” “Glee”), Michael Grassi (“Riverdale,” “Supergirl”), Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) and Jon Goldwater (Archie Comics Publisher & CEO), “Katy Keene” is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.

[Pictured: “Nancy Drew.]

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