In recent years, The CW has built up a slate full of predominantly genre shows, including musical comedies, supernatural series, horror procedurals, and telenovela inspired dramas. Additionally, The CW has been building its shared television universe based on DC Comics superheroes since Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) made his debut on Arrow. The series has since introduced Central City CSI tech Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who spun off into The Flash, as well as a host of other characters that went on to headline Legends of Tomorrow.
Legends of Tomorrow hasn't been doing as well in the ratings compared to its fellow DC Comics series - and the ratings of other CW shows have caused speculation if they would be receiving added seasons. But, the network has officially renewed its entire slate of 11 shows including all three shows in its DC shared universe.
EW is reporting The CW has given a green light to season 5 of Arrow, season 3 of The Flash, and season 2 of freshman DC series Legends of Tomorrow. Adding to the renewals are iZombie, The 100, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Jane the Virgin, Reign, and the long-running Supernatural.
CW president Mark Pedowitz commented on the renewal decision and the aim of the network:
“The CW has become home to some of the most critically-acclaimed shows on broadcast television, with a wide array of fantastic scripted series across the week, ranging from musical comedy, to superhero action, to gritty sci-fi dramas. As we continue to further our strategy of more year-round original programming, picking up these 11 series for the 2016–2017 season puts us in a great position of having proven, high-quality shows to launch in the fall as well as midseason and summer of 2017.”
These renewals shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to those that have been following The CW's development over recent years. That is to say, the network often gives more weight to the critical and fan attention garnered by a television series than its ratings. For instance, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of the network's lowest rated series, but star Rachel Bloom received a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award for best actress in a TV comedy. Or, The 100 generally garners middling ratings in relation to the network's other shows, but has received plenty of critical acclaim in recent years - including from us here at Screen Rant.
Of course, the question remains of what will happen to the number of pilots that have been ordered by The CW - including Riverdale, an adaptation of Archie Comics, and Frequency, which is based on the 2000 sci-fi thriller of the same name. It's possible that The CW's renewal of its 11-series slate could impact the probability of these and their fellow pilots being picked up to series. The network has certainly been more selective in recent years. In fact, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Legends of Tomorrow, and the upcoming series Containment are the only new shows The CW have or will debut in the 2015-2016 season.
That being said, The CW may also be able to shuffle their schedule between longer seasons and midseason premieres to make room for any new pickups. The 100, for instance, has shorter seasons well under the typical 20-22 episodes. Additionally, with Pedowitz stating The CW is looking to expand in year-round coverage, they may green light more new series for the summer.
How The CW deals with new series in the 2016-2017 season remains to be seen, but it's likely the network will continue to remain selective and stay loyal to those shows in its current lineup - even the series that don't garner massive ratings but do well with fans and critics.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW. Arrow airs in the same timeslot on Wednesdays and Legends of Tomorrow on Thursdays.