Like many networks, The CW is trying to get its programming slate back to a sense of normalcy after the damage done (and still happening) by the COVID pandemic. So with a number of the network's key shows returning or kicking off over the next few weeks, The CW Chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz spoke with Deadline Hollywood to offer updates on the network, pilots, the Arrowverse, Swamp Thing, Riverdale, and more.
Looks like there might be another round of mass renewals. Though Supergirl and Black Lightning are already set to end their runs with their upcoming respective seasons, Pedowitz believes that most of the series currently airing will receive new season orders to maintain content continuity. Over the next six weeks, eight returning series and two new series will debut: Batwoman, All American, Nancy Drew, Walker, Legacies, Riverdale, The Flash, Black Lightning, Charmed, and Superman & Lois. Midseason programming includes Roswell, New Mexico, In The Dark, Supergirl, Stargirl, Dynasty, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow as well as new titles Kung Fu and Republic of Sarah.
To get things back on track for the fall, some shows may see their episode counts cut. Admitting that he may have to "start making hard decisions," Pedowitz admitted that shortening seasons in the short-term could be the best way to get future productions back on track. "Do you cut the orders of some of the shows this season so that they have time to ramp up for next season?", he said. "If it's an issue, we'll know by March. You have to end production on whatever you're doing now in time to turn it around to have a fall."
Pilot season is still a little early, but… Pedowitz explained that it's still too early in the pilot season to make any comments about what's standing out. Greg Berlanti-produced Wonder Girl and Ava DuVernay's Naomi (both DC Comics-based dramas) are getting strong early buzz, with Nancy Drew spinoff Tom Swift and Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller also in play. Also, 2020 pilots for The Lost Boys and Maverick are still in contention, with The 100 prequel series possibly finding a home at HBO Max.
"Swamp Thing" doesn't have a Season 2 future, but… Though the originally-DC Universe series performed well for the network, Pedowitz explained that Swamp Thing will most likely not return to the network- at least not in his own series. "It'd be interesting to have Swamp Thing on 'Legends of Tomorrow,' that would be a fun way to do it, but I'm not sure that would happen," he said (or teased?).
Don't hold your breath for "Arrow" Season 9. Series star Stephen Amell revealed last year that he was willing to come back for more Arrow when COVID shut down production on his pro-wrestling STARZ series Heels– even having spoken to Greg Berlanti about it. 'I'm a big fan of Stephen's," said Pedowitz when asked about how realistic the possibility was. "He made a determination by himself that he was ready to move on. I always look forward to Stephen come back in some form on The CW but he's busy doing a wrestling show right now."
Expanding the "Riverdale" Universe: Pedowitz revealed that he and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa have spoken about another Riverdale spinoff (though he hasn't seen a script yet). With a seven-year time jump set to kick in for Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, Jughead Jones, Cheryl Blossom, Toni Topaz, and the gang after wrapping up their senior year in the first three episodes, Pedowitz said that Aguirre-Sacasa is looking on how to expand the franchise. "I do know that he's thinking long term on how to continue the Riverdale situation," he explained.