There will be no heavy lifting when the CW sets its 2015-16 lineup.
The network, having its strongest ratings performance in several years, announced Sunday that it has picked up all eight scripted series currently on its schedule including the critically acclaimed but not quite a hit serialized comedy "Jane the Virgin."
“One of the reasons we did it is to give the producers plenty of time to get ahead and plot out the stories and give the producers what they needed,” said CW President Mark Pedowitz, who revealed the pickups before his session at the winter press tour in Pasadena. “It also allows us to put them on for midseason or summer.”
Returning so many series means Pedowitz will need to pick up just two new series for next season -- a relief as launching shows becomes more challenging in the increasingly crowded TV landscape.
Pedowitz launched just two freshman shows this season, and both were successful by his standard. "The Flash" was a slam dunk for renewal, being the most-watched show in the CW’s history. "Jane the Virgin" has been a slow-starter ratings-wise and will require patience, something the CW is willing to provide.
The telenovela-style series, which stars Gina Rodriguez as a young woman who is accidentally impregnated through artificial insemination, is a Golden Globes nominee. It has already garnered a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy and ranked among in the American Film Institute’s 10 TV Programs of the Year.
“I think Jane’s future is quite bright,” Pedowitz said.
Pedowitz, a veteran TV business affairs executive who took over the top job at the CW in 2011 when it appeared headed for oblivion, believes the stability and growth of network under his watch is a result of sticking with a tightly focused strategy of delivering high-concept genre shows (vampires, comic book superheroes and soon, zombies) and serialized comedies and dramas.
The network is averaging 2.2 million viewers in the current season, up 14% from last year and its highest number since 2010. It has not lost any ground in its targeted demographic category of 18- to 34-year-old viewers.
“It’s been a brick by brick process,” he said. “There’s no immediate cure. You can’t wipe out your schedule. You have to honor your core audience as well as bring in new people.”
Pedowitz noted that executives at Tribune Media -- which owns the CW TV station affiliates in such large markets as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago -- have been occasionally cranky about the network’s niche appeal, are now “very supportive about what’s going on.”
The current affiliate agreement with Tribune is up for renewal in 2016.
The CW also announced launch dates for its midseason shows. From "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas, "iZombie" debuts March 17 in its Tuesday 9 p.m. time slot.
"Supernatural" moves to Wednesday at 9 p.m. that week, replacing "The 100," which will conclude its season on March 11.
The CW’s latest apocalyptic drama "The Messengers" opens on April 10 and will air Fridays at 9 p.m. The 8 p.m. hour on the night will continue to have comedic reality competition shows, with a new entry Cedric’s "Barber Battle" leading off the night.
Cedric the Entertainer will travel to barber shops in cities across the country where haircutters will test their creative skills. Improv series "Whose Line Is it Anyway?" moves to 8:30 p.m.