Mark Pedowitz, president of CW network, bides no cute stuff from TV critics.
Critics found out he’s developing a “Battle Royale” series for CW, for example, and weren’t happy. Actually he explained, it was a “Battle Royale” phone call and there is no “in development,” though he’d love to do the TV series adaptation.
“You know what ‘Battle Royale’ is about? You aren’t really going to have a show, in this moment, about high school kids killing each other?” one critic asked Pedowitz, like a pop star speaking to a waiter about the caterpillar she’s just discovered in her salad
“All that existed was a phone call and we’re not planning to do anything we can’t get on the air,” Pedowitz responded, impatiently.
One zombie fan/TV critic asked why CW had not greenlit the zombie drama it had developed last spring, wondering if zombies maybe were just too much for “normal broadcast standards,” and tossed in a shout-out to AMC’s zombie-drama “The Walking Dead.”
CW zombies have to look a lot better than AMC zombies, Pedowitz joked. “You can’t believe how good they look when they’re walking on CW,” he added.
Same critic also jumped down the “Vampire Diaries” rabbit hole with a question about the minutiae of the CW drama’s bloody mythology. Pedowitz not only kept up, he out minutiae’d the critic, finishing his response with, “Yes, I watch the shows,” in case the critic had any questions as to whether he understood he was being tested.
CW is in the aggregation business, with the broadcast network at the center, Pedowitz said in response to all questions about the network’s small ratings.
“You’re talking about us in overnight ratings,” he responded when someone noted CW shows typically rank around No. 105 at best, in Nielsen ranking reports for any given week.
“The digital streaming numbers combined with Hulu, Netflix, cw.com and the network’s episode app “are astronomical” but those numbers do not show up on Nielsen’s reports.
That said, it would be nice not to have another fall rollout like CW’s last fall, Pedowitz acknowledged, in which the network successfully launched its new shows ahead of Premiere Week, then lost all traction when the Big Four launched their shows in or around Premiere Week.
Waiting until October to premiere new programming after the crush of Premiere Week also means fewer repeats of new shows in the fourth and first quarters, Pedowitz said, leaving some of us wondering why that took so long for CW to figure out.
Speaking of trying to get off to a better start in the fall, CW announced Monday it would kick off its fall-season launch with the broadcast debut of Joss Whedon’s “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” starring CBS primetime star Neil Patrick Harris, ABC primetime star Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day on Oct. 9.
“Dr. Horrible” will debut just as CW is starting to roll out its new fall shows. In much the same way NBC is debuting its new fall schedule right after the London Summer Games to take advantage of that huge audience. “Dr Horrible” is CW’s Olympics. CW is counting on the millions of “Dr. Horrible” fans to tune in to watch its new series’s premieres.