May 8, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: CW Makes Its Decisions


Once again, CW demonstrated that it operates under different economics than the other broadcast networks.  Much of its revenue comes from episodes streamed online via Netflix and Hulu, which makes sometimes puny on-air ratings acceptable.  Also, virtually everything it airs is produced by one of its in-house studios, Warner Bros Television or CBS Television Studios, so international and post-network syndication sales are part of its calculations.

All of which is to say that not just the well-rated THE 100 received a renewal today, but the little-watched BEAUTY & THE BEAST and HART OF DIXIE did as well.  Beauty, which had its final group of 2013-14 episodes removed from the regular season schedule and held till summer, is reportedly a strong seller overseas, while Hart has completed 3 seasons on the air and with a 4th will qualify for higher syndication license fees.  (Note:  not all of these returnees may get full 22-episode orders.)  STAR-CROSSED, THE TOMORROW PEOPLE, and THE CARRIE DIARIES, however, were out of luck.

CW also issued its pick-ups for 4 new dramas (2 from Warners, 2 from CBSP):

THE FLASH was a certainty to make the schedule, with a well-received quasi-pilot planted into this year’s season of Arrow, and plenty of chances for crossovers between the two DC Comics series.  Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg of Arrow along with Geoff Johns are the series creators, and the official pilot was directed by David Nutter.

iZOMBIE is another DC Comics project, from Warners and series creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero (respectively creator and senior writer/producer of Veronica Mars).  It stars Rose McIver, who’s been busy this past season with recurring parts on both Once Upon A Time (as Tinker Bell) and Masters of Sex (in a somewhat steamier role) as a functioning zombie who eats brains from the morgue where she works and then solves her meals’ murders, using the memories she’s ingested.  No, really.  Thomas also directed the pilot.  (It’s worth noting that while Marvel owns the movie box office, DC Comics is doing quite well on TV, with 4 series next fall on 2 networks, now that Flash and iZombie are joining Arrow and FOX’s new Gotham.)

THE MESSENGERS sounds like prototypical CW, about a group of people (presumably young and good-looking) who are killed by a mysterious electronic pulse from outer space but then come back to life, hailed as saviors.  The creator is Eoghan O’Donnell, who wrote on Teen Wolf, and the pilot was directed by Stephen Williams.  It’s a CBSP show.

JANE THE VIRGIN is a bit different from most CW YA fantasies, and at first glance sounds like a possible pair with Hart of Dixie, Like Ugly Betty, it’s based on a telenovela, and concerns a religious, virginal young Latina woman who is accidentally impregnated via artificial insemination.  Let’s try not to gulp at the fact that series creator Jessie Snyder Urman was last at CW with the unwatchable Emily OwensMD.  It’s another CBSP series, and the pilot was directed by Brad Silberling.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."