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CW expands comedy, comic book offerings in 2015-16 season

The CW's plan for 2015-16: More comedy and more superheroes

Following one of the most critically and commercially successful years in its history, the CW unveiled a prime-time lineup for the 2015-16 season Thursday that displayed newfound confidence from the young (and young-skewing) network. 

"We had a terrific season," said CW President Mark Pedowitz in a call with reporters Thursday morning ahead of the network's upfront presentation in New York. High points included freshman comic book adapation "The Flash," the most watched show in the CW's history, which propelled the network to its highest ratings in seven years and expanded its reach with male viewers.

The CW also earned critical acclaim for freshman comedy "Jane the Virgin," whose breakout star, Gina Rodriguez, won a Golden Globe in January, the first major award win for the network.

"We have some momentum and some stability," said Pedowitz.

The network has announced three new series for the season ahead, expanding its comic book and comedy offerings while venturing into the ever-popular disease outbreak genre. 

The one-hour comedy "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" is the only series scheduled for the fall, when it's scheduled for Mondays at 8 p.m. and will lead in to "Jane the Virgin." This will give the previously drama-focused CW a two-hour comedy block on a night when its broadcast rivals have turned away from the genre.

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which stars Rachel Bloom as a lawyer who moves from New York to the SoCal suburbs, is a project the CW picked up from its corporate sister Showtime. The network may be distinguishing itself with one-hour comedies that, like the telenovela spoof "Jane the Virgin," strike the balance between laughs and drama. "It is different," Pedowitz said, "It is a blue sky with a very dark twist."

The network is also making minor time slot adjustments, moving "The Originals" to Thursday at 9 p.m. after the similarly themed "The Vampire Diaries," while "Reign" will move from Thursdays to Fridays to get out of the way of ABC's hit soap "Scandal." 

The CW is holding "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," with Victor Garber and Brandon Routh, for midseason. Plot details about the drama, which will be the third DC comic adaptation on the network following "Arrow" and "The Flash," are scant so far, with the CW revealing only that the series will center on "a disparate group of both heroes and villains" who band together to fight evil. 

"It's a little bit of a 'Dirty Dozen,'" Pedowitz said.

Rounding out the new shows is the action drama "Containment," which follows the outbreak of a deadly epidemic in -- where else? -- Atlanta.

The network is holding the post-apocalyptic drama "The 100" for midseason, a strategy that Pedowitz said he hoped would allow viewers to catch up with its first two seasons on Netflix and "maybe have that 'Breaking Bad' moment." 

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