The CW is staying in the superhero business.
Network president Mark Pedowitz is “optimistic” that Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will return next season, he told EW at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Sunday.
“At the moment, it’s a little too soon,” Pedowitz says. “We’re noted for announcing at winter TCA that we’re picking up shows, we just weren’t ready to do that yet. A couple more weeks [and] we’ll probably get around to it. I’m pretty confident we’ll see them all back.”
The news comes as Arrow is currently in its sixth season, typically when networks enter into contract negotiations for its leading actors. “I cannot discuss casting negotiations, but I do believe some members of the cast are already signed for longer,” Pedowitz says.
Pedowitz says that the delay in renewals has nothing to do with the recent allegations against Andrew Kreisberg, who was fired by Warner Bros. in November after news broke that 15 women and four men alleged sexual harassment and other physical misconduct by Kreisberg that ultimately created a toxic work environment. “We haven’t renewed anything yet,” Pedowitz notes. “We’re not quite ready to do that. We’re a couple of weeks out. I’m pretty confident a lot of the [CW] slate is coming back. We’re just not ready to make that a formal announcement yet. It is only Jan. 7. It’s just a question of the board and I getting together and having a discussion about it. We just weren’t ready with the holidays and this came just days later. We’ll get there. I’m confident most of our schedule is coming back.”
Kreisberg, who strongly denied the allegations, was initially suspended as Warner Bros. Television Group set out to investigate. “When we found out, the studio informed us about the potential allegations, the studio investigated it, we supported the studio and their perspective,” Pedowitz says. “No one should have to live in the world with sexual harassment or misconduct and people should feel free, whether they work for the CW or at the CW, to say what they want to say and we should have to investigate the whole thing. From a policy point of view, the system worked when the complaint came forward. And to the studio’s credit, and we support them, they did the right thing.”
Pedowitz notes that storylines on The Flash and Supergirl — on which Kreisberg was more hands-on — were not changed in the wake of the allegations, though he recognizes the poorly timed introduction of misogynistic Flash character Ralph Digney (Hartley Sawyer). “Well, ironically the allegations came in after the first [Ralph] episode of the show was shot, so there was a heightened awareness as we went through it,” Pedowitz says. “It’s an old-time cartoon character, so at a moment, it became cringeworthy, but if you look at the character now, as the episodes go on, he’s not that character anymore. It was the direction it was always going to go.”
The investigation also had nothing to do with what Pedowitz calls a “production delay” on Supergirl — the show will return for four weeks starting Jan. 15, after which Legends will air nine weeks of original episodes starting Feb. 12, while Supergirl takes a break until it reclaims the timeslot on April 16, following the Legends season finale on April 9. Supergirl’s season finale will then air June 18. “There was a little bit of a production delay,” Pedowitz says. “We knew we were never going to air five superhero shows [at the same time.]. ‘Okay, there’s a production delay, let them figure it out, don’t worry about it, we put Legends in, so we’ll run Legends and then we’ll put Supergirl right after it.’ Supergirl running into the summer is actually better programming for us year-round.”
The CW superheroes will return with Supergirl on Monday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. ET; The Flash and Black Lightning on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET, respectively; and Arrow on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 9 p.m. ET.