The CW has produced some of the biggest hit shows on television, ranging from the long-lived Supernatural to the classic guilty pleasure Gossip Girl to the much-beloved Arrowverse shows. The CW shows have mastered creating action-packed, dramatic plotlines that have kept fans enthralled season after season.
Behind the scenes, there’s also much more drama and action than one would expect, and it does not always look good for the shows or the network. Sustaining so many character-driven series has stirred up many conflicts and confrontations.
The ambitious nature of the many shows has created significant obstacles for their casts and crews, and working with untested story elements has led to controversial and sometimes accidental creative decisions.
While most on-screen drama ties up neatly and often happily, the CW has not been so fortunate with the shows’ behind-the-scenes issues. On the sets of these fan-favorite shows, the cast and crew have dealt with feuds, erratic stars, and show-related injuries.
The series creators and stars have sometimes created their own controversies with significant fan backlash. In recent months, CW showrunners and producers have been accused of behavior ranging from bullying to harassment and misconduct.
Here are the 17 Secrets That The CW Doesn’t Want You To Know.
17. Arrowverse executive producer Andrew Kreisberg was accused of harassment
In the past few weeks, Arrowverse executive producer and series co-creator Andrew Kreisberg has joined the growing list of powerful entertainment figures accused of misconduct. He was accused of harassment by 19 men and women.
Several of the accusers worked on The Flash, where he served as showrunner. None of the accusers wanted to be named for fear of retaliation by the studio or others associated with the shows, but the accusers told frequently corroborating stories about Kreisberg’s harassment.
One of the female accusers stated, “Going to HR never crossed my mind, because it seems like nothing’s been enforced.” Many women on the set said he created a toxic work environment that felt unsafe.
A female producer in the production company said she brought her concerns about Kreisberg to a senior executive. After her complaint, she related, “There was zero response. Nothing happened. Nothing changed.”
Kreisberg has been suspended while an investigation is conducted into his behavior. After the news hit, Arrowverse stars Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards, Caity Lotz, and Melissa Benoist have made statements of support for the men and women who are now speaking out.
16. Blake Lively and Leighton Meester feuded on the set of Gossip Girl
While Blair and Serena were the best of friends on Gossip Girl, their actresses Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were just the opposite. The two were rumored to avoid each other on set.
The reported sources of the feud range from Meester considering Lively an egomaniac to Lively’s complaints over Meester’s wardrobe budget. Rumors flew throughout the run of the show and after the show ended that Lively and Meester were not on good terms.
Lively’s publicist stated, “Blake and Leighton have never been best friends, and never professed to be. Blake goes to work, does her job, and goes home.” Executive producer Joshua Safran added “Blake and Leighton were not friends. They were friendly, but they were not friends like Serena and Blair. Yet the second they’d be on set together, it’s as if they were.”
15. The 100’s showrunner was accused of bullying the cast
Ricky Whittle played the complicated warrior Lincoln on The 100. His tragic and emotional exit was a major point of contention on-screen and off-screen. Lincoln’s death was not originally supposed to happen, but Whittle decided to leave the show, forcing writers to get rid of the character. Whittle’s decision was apparently influenced by the behavior of series creator Jason Rothenberg.
When discussing his decision, Whittle revealed, “At the beginning of the season, he was not supposed to die. He had a whole story line that was cut, that was just nonexistent. It was my choice to go.”
“This is going to be the most controversial thing I will say, is that basically Jason Rothenberg abused his position to make my job untenable. What he did was disgusting and he should be ashamed,” he said.
He added, “He was professionally bullying me, cutting out all the story line that I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines, cutting everything out, trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible.”
14. One Tree Hill cast says Mark Schwahn’s misconduct was an open secret on set
Several cast and crew members of One Tree Hill have accused series creator Mark Schwahn of misconduct in recent weeks, detailing consistent incidents of harassment and assault over the course of their work on the series. These women say that many people connected to the show were aware of his behavior, but little was ever done about it.
In a joint letter from the 18 accusers from the show, they explained, “Mark Schwahn’s behavior over the duration of the filming of One Tree Hill was something of an ‘open secret’… Many of us were put in uncomfortable positions and had to swiftly learn to fight back, sometimes physically, because it was made clear to us that the supervisors in the room were not the protectors they were supposed to be.”
They added, “We confided in each other. We set up safe spaces to talk about his behavior and how to handle it. To warn new women who joined our ranks. We understood that a lot of it was orchestrated in ways that kept it out of sight for the studio back home. We also understood that no one was fully unaware. The lack of action that has been routine…”
13. Arrow stars have been injured many times
The DC smash hit Arrow is a stunt-heavy series, showcasing some incredible feats of martial arts, acrobatics, and weaponry skills. While this makes a fantastic show on-screen, it is not always a safe environment for the cast. The stars of Arrow have been injured on many occasions.
Stephen Amell has shared some of his injuries on social media and panels, from a particularly bad calf injury from banging his leg on set to a mysterious injury sustained while performing a forbidden stunt. He also revealed he got a jaw injury while training, giving him a temporary lisp.
Amell isn’t the only one at risk, though. Willa Holland injured both of her feet in separate incidents, once when a nail pierced her foot and another time when she was performing a difficult stunt. Amell also accidentally injured one of the stuntmen when he punched him in the face and broke his nose.
12. Supernatural’s fans led death of female leads
The women on Supernatural never seem to last very long, especially when they have a romantic attachment to series leads Sam and Dean. Even fan favorite women eventually meet their end in usual Supernatural heart-breaking fashion. Romances for Sam and Dean never seem to end well. According to Jensen Ackles, that is the fault of the legion of female fans who love the show.
When asked why the women never last on the show, Jensen Ackles explained that the fans do not like to see Sam and Dean with other women, adding, “So you asked for it, you got it. We’re alone and only have each other.”
11. The 90210 cast found out about the cancellation on Twitter
When the CW’s remake of 90210 was cancelled following its fifth season, the announcement of the news came as a surprise to many, including the cast members themselves. The cast has revealed they were not informed of the cancellation before the rest of the world and had to find out about the news on Twitter.
AnnaLynne McCord commented, “It was a shocker. We found out via Twitter — that wasn’t cool at all.” She said on Twitter that she felt this decision did not allow for the proper send-off that the fans deserved.
McCord also revealed that she did not like the rewritten ending for her character Naomo Clark, so she filmed her own ending based on the original version. She released her alternate ending on YouTube when the finale aired.
10. There was an undeveloped Wonder Woman prequel
Before Wonder Woman became a hit with Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the fan-favorite superheroine, the CW was working on a prequel series of their own. The series was going to be called Amazon, and it would follow Diana in her early days of become a superhero. At one point in development, it involved Diana leaving Themyscira and going to high school… for some reason.
The show was stuck in development for years, never quite making it to the screen. When Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman became so popular, the CW dropped their plans to develop the series.
Although high school student Diana is a somewhat dubious plotline, it would have been interesting to see where this series could have gone. It also could have weaved Wonder Woman into the Arrowverse at some point, which would have made a fantastic addition to the current lineup.
9. Marc Guggenheim faced backlash for stating that he was promoting liberal views
Arrow stirred up controversy with an episode addressing gun control. The episode’s treatment of the issue did not seem to please anyone, as it failed to take any actual stance. The discussion of gun control in the episode seemed shoehorned and made little sense, and the gun control agreement they reached was never even revealed.
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim landed in further controversy when he said of the episode, “I’m an unapologetic progressive, but the thing that I’ve noticed is that not talking about issues serves a conservative agenda, not a liberal agenda.”
This made the episode even less palatable to some fans, as it seemed the show was trying to get too involved in divisive politics without creating any coherent argument.
Executive producer Wendy Mericle discussed doing more episodes like this one, stating, “The other thing, when Marc and I talked about doing it, and we talked about doing potentially more episodes like this, going forward, was the idea that you want to start a conversation.”
8. KJ Apa was injured filming Riverdale
KJ Apa, who stars in Riverdale as Archie, has had a rather accident-prone run on the show. When punching through ice on the Riverdale finale, Apa accidentally broke his hand.
He explained, “I wasn’t really punching the ice, but I got a little bit too excited. I was punching a foam mat … [that was] sitting on the ice. It was cold, so I didn’t really feel it. It wasn’t until 20 minutes after that I realized I broke my hand. I didn’t tell anyone.”
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa commented, “In a weird way, and I told this to KJ, the second we knew that Archie was going to be punching through ice, I literally said, ‘now guys, KJ is such a committed actor, he’s so method, he’s so in this character and passionate, you have to make sure he doesn’t hurt this hand.’ So when at the end of that day I got a phone call that KJ had maybe broken his hand, I was like ‘Yup,’”
7. Several shows have been accused of fridging characters
Multiple shows on the CW have been accused of fridging female, minority, and LGBTQ characters on a consistent basis to further the stories of other characters. Many fans have pointed out that Supernatural‘s female and minority characters are almost always killed off or evil.
The show’s recurring theme of killing off a woman to advance someone else’s story has become a major point of contention with fans, especially with the controversial death of Charlie.
Arrow has also been frequently accused of fridging female characters. Shado was killed to further Oliver’s guilt and create a point of contention between Oliver and Slade. Sara was killed off to spur Oliver into his next conflict and turn Lauren into Black Canary. Laurel was then killed off to advance a different story and create more emotional conflict.
6. Supernatural and Supergirl alienated fans by dismissing potential relationships
Although many CW shows are foraying into a variety of same-sex relationships, cast and crew from Supernatural and Supergirl have angered fans by dismissing such potential relationships when fans bring them up.
Many fans support the idea of relationship with Dean and Castiel on Supernatural, especially since the show’s dialogue has been suggesting it for a while. Jensen Ackles refused to answer questions about their relationship at a convention, and an executive tweeted that the relationship isn’t real. Both incidents have angered fans, who feel the show should not suggest the relationship only for the cast and crew to laugh it off and deny it.
On Supergirl, some fans have seen a potential relationship between Kara and Lena Luthor, and the cast brought the pair up in a musical recap at ComicCon, followed by Jeremy Jordan singing, “They’re only friends! They’re only friends! They’re not gonna get together! They’re only friends.” Some fans took this comment as a somewhat homophobic dismissal, and Jordan later issued an apology about how the comment sounded.
5. Taylor Momsen grew increasingly volatile until she was written out of Gossip Girl
By the fifth season of Gossip Girl, Taylor Momsen was mostly written out of the show as the main characters went to college and left the younger characters behind. Some sources at the show say the decision was made because Momsen’s behavior was increasingly erratic.
An unnamed source at the show commented, “Taylor wasn’t on set filming much this season, but when she did show up she wasn’t very level-headed. The show’s executives didn’t trust that she was really giving it her all, so they dismissed her as a regular.”
When Tim Gunn filmed with her as a guest star, he stated, “She was pathetic, she couldn’t remember her lines, and she didn’t even have that many. I thought to myself, ‘why are we all being held hostage by this brat?'”
4. Jane the Virgin’s Kate del Castillo brokered an interview between Sean Penn and El Chapo
Mexican actress Kate del Castillo guest starred as the brash and unapologetic telenovela actress Luciana Leon on CW’s Jane the Virgin. In real life, she has become known for brokering the infamous interview between Sean Penn and the drug lord and escaped convict El Chapo.
She brought Sean Penn to meet with El Chapo, but she says that she thought Penn wanted to be a part of film about El Chapo that she was working on. She claims that she was unaware that Penn was planning to write a piece about it himself. In a statement by her lawyer, he claimed that del Castillo felt betrayed and used by Penn and El Chapo because she did not know about the article until after the fact.
3. Reign included Mary’s assault for controversial reasons
Reign caused a flurry of controversy when Mary’s assault was covered by the show. In the episode “Acts of War”, Mary was assaulted by a Protestant who came to the castle while attempting to assassinate her husband Francis. When it was leaked that this scene would be included in an episode, fans took to social media asking the writers not to film it.
While some fans praised Reign‘s treatment of the issue as an act of violence that Mary had to heal from, other fans objected to the fact that Mary’s assault was included as a way to punish her husband for his past transgressions.
Showrunner Laurie McCarthy explained the origins of the scene, “Since we’re playing the civil unrest in the nation, which is historically accurate, we thought, ‘What could be one of the worst things that could happen that would really affect the person [Francis] loves the most’ And that’s Mary.”
McCarthy added, “It was something that we built up to from the end of last season, so I didn’t need to see a hashtag to make me think not just twice but maybe 100 times about whether or not this was the right thing to do.”
2. Arrow uses CGI for almost all bow-and-arrow sequences
Arrow uses weapons to perfection, working tirelessly to make sure the characters’ weapons, form, and technique are as accurate as possible to real archery. Real archers have analyzed the use of bows in the show and found it to be surprisingly accurate.
However, on the set, the bow-and-arrow sequences are helped by heavy use of CGI due to the danger of working with real arrows.
Stephen Amell has practiced real archery, but he explained that he’s never been allowed to shoot an arrow on the show and sometimes even the bowstring is added digitally.
1. Some of the popular characters were created by accident
The CW shows have created some of the most beloved and memorable characters on television, but sometimes their creations aren’t entirely intentional. The writers often did not know the popular characters they had on their hands until the fans responded, at which point the characters’ show trajectories were changed.
Arrow‘s Felicity Smoak was originally intended as a one-off character. Emily Bett Rickards revealed that she auditioned for a one-episode part, but the fan response to her character was so great that she kept getting called back for more. As the seasons progressed, Felicity became increasingly integral to the show’s plotlines.
Supernatural‘s Bobby Singer originally was not going to exist. The writers’ plan was to bring back Missouri Moseley, but the actress was not available for an appearance. To serve the same purpose, they created the character of Bobby Singer instead, one of the show’s most popular characters to date.
Can you think of any other secrets that The CW is trying to hide? Let us know in the comments!
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