TCA: CW's Pedowitz Talks Importance of Franchises, Comedy Development

Network introducing Flash character to 'Arrow'; may develop sitcoms to pair with 'Whose Line'
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Coverage: TCA Summer Press Tour 2013

Los Angeles -- The CW is going to continue mining the DC
Comics universe following the success of Arrow last season, with
president Mark Pedowitz confirming at the TCA press tour Tuesday that Arrow
will introduce The Flash as a recurring character this season, with the
potential to spinoff into its own series.

"We do want to expand upon the DC characters. We think it's
a rich universe that we can use," he said.

Pedowitz pointed to the built-in brand equity of a franchise
as reason to develop such projects. "It's very hard to launch a show without a
hook," he said. "We do believe we can launch without having that franchise bit.
But it increases your development capability."

The CW did feel that this fall's Reign, about a young
Mary, Queen of Scots, was different enough to launch on its own. Though another
new series The Originals is a spinoff of The Vampire Diaries,
Pedowitz said he is a firm believer such franchises have to stand on their own.
"We're hoping that built-in equity allows the fans to come and [executive
producer] Julie Plec creates a show that allows others to come."

Other highlights from The CW's executive session included:

  • The network is continuing to look at developing
    sitcoms or comedy-reality projects, and is bolstered by the recent renewal
    for Whose Line Is It Anyway
    . "Once Whose Line works, it gives
    us a strategic piece now for comedy," Pedowitz said. "Now we have a platform to
    do it with we didn't really have one before."
  • During CBS' executive session on Monday, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves was asked
    about The CW's viability as a business, and Pedowitz responded to his comments
    that its shows are profitable even if The CW as an entity may lose some money.
    "I pay particular attention to Leslie's comments. The parent company has been
    very happy with how The CW has performed," he said. "We're a platform as well
    as a broadcaster for those shows."
  • Pedowitz knows The CW's syndication deal with Netflix is essential to that
    business model, but believes the network would survive in some fashion if that
    suddenly went away. "If Netflix decides, hey, don't want to be in business with
    CBS and Warner Bros., which I hope they don't, I hope there's another
    platform," he said. "That model now, particularly with serialized programming,
    is a necessity."
  • Pedowitz came into The CW wanting to change the ways ratings are measured, but
    it has proven to be much harder than he thought to accomplish. "It's still a
    work in progress," he said. The network does employ Nielsen OCR for online
    viewing as well as Rentrak, with Pedowitz noting that CW's Rentrak live numbers
    are much better than its Nielsen live numbers.

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