If there’s one thing notable during this weekend’s Comic Con at Home, a usual presence at the annual convention has opted to sit out of this year’s online version. Every year thousands gather to hear about what’s to come with the fall slate on the CW network. It’s the first chance to hear what’s new for buzz worthy shows like “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” and “Riverdale” or say goodbye to fan favorites, like last year’s farewell’s for “Arrow” and “Supernatural.”
While there are no scoops on what to expect in the next season of “The Flash,” Cynthia Littleton of Variety talked with The CW boss Mark Pedowitz in the podcast “Strictly Business” about what’s happening with The CW while shooting on the standard lineup has been suspended. This 32 minutes with the current longest serving TV network boss is quite informative for anyone interested in learning how the network is adapting during this very crazy time.
Pedowitz touched upon stockpiling content for The CW in case of a work stoppage (although he was more concerned about a writers strike than a pandemic but it still worked to their advantage), and how streaming has impacted the network in the past and going forward. It’s quite a fascinating conversation about the complications of streaming new shows going forward on HBO Max while the older shows will still remain on Netflix, which has been a huge boost in getting audiences to adopt their programming. Here’s one particularly interesting soundbite related to our favorite show:
“When you started that relationship with Netflix, did you see a draw in ratings on linear (programming)?”
Pedowitz: Yes. We first noticed it back in 2011/2012 when the first Netflix deal happened and it started with “Supernatural.” Because people had never truly saw it, they binged the first six or seven seasons and they came back and watched for the following season, particularly when we paired it with “Arrow.”
“Arrow” officially bowed out with plenty of fanfare in January, but “Supernatural’s" big May farewell hit a snag when production was suspended in March and has yet to return. The CW is pushing much of it’s high profile lineup until January, but saving “Supernatural’s” long overdue farewell for the fall. Pedowitz took some time to reflect on both of these shows, which have been around since he started at the CW. There is a big plan laid out for “Supernatural’s” sendoff, and yes, there will be a tribute episode!
Pedowitz: We have five (episodes) in the can. I’ve seen the rough cut. They had not yet completed post production on them. It was the last two. They had about three weeks left of filming to do. Jared and Jensen are ready to go. I communicate with them periodically and they’re dying to get out of Austin. I think Jared escaped to go to Sun Valley for a while. I’ve been talking to Peter Roth in the studio. We’re hoping that end of August or early September they’ll be able to complete the final two episodes. Therefore we thought instead of trying to do anything where we planned our fall schedule, we said seven episodes, this is like a mini season in itself and take the negative of what happened and turn it into a positive.
We have put together a fabulous tribute to 15 years of the series that they all participated in and it is great. We plan to make an event out of it. I’m going to be sad to see it go. Supernatural has been a stalwart. The guys have been great. They have been willing partners when changing time periods right and left. Losing Arrow and Supernatural at the same time, two shows that helped launched my start at the CW is bittersweet.
Here is a little soundbite for those curious about why they are bringing back most of the remaining shows in January:
“We elected for January to go to stability because I think the audience wants stability at this point. That’s why we did not make a whole lot of changes to the schedule.”
For anyone who wants to listen to the podcast (and I recommend you do), the link is in this article on Variety or it can be download on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud under Variety "Strictly Business."
Update: According to Deadline, we are looking at a shooting date in late August. 30 day notices to actors have gone out! All of this is pending union approval and of course a 14 day quarantine period before shooting starts.