The CW president Mark Pedowitz is confident in his network’s stability and its continued longevity in the face of Peak TV and audiences’ ever-changing viewing habits. The network boss said as much during The CW’s presentation at the summer TCA press tour. Now that the likes of HBO, Hulu, AMC, and more have had a chance to answer questions from members of the Television Critics Association, it’s time for the broadcast networks to step into the spotlight.
The second broadcast network at bat was The CW. Earlier this year, at the winter TCAs, the younger-skewing, DC Comics-fueled network was one of few to hold an executive session, essentially putting the person in charge in the hot seat. Earlier in the week, a line of questions faced by CBS execs Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman offered a pretty good example of why some networks may have avoided the Q&A sessions in the previous tour, as the two were grilled with questions concerning the lack of diversity in their network’s programming.
But executive sessions can also offer up intriguing insight into the state of the industry, as seen by those who are essentially on the front lines. That much was made clear by TBS and TNT president Kevin Reilly, when he offered those in attendance something to chew on, intimating a contraction of television through greater consolidation of media outlets and fewer channels. During his Q&A session, Pedowitz was asked about Reilly’s comments, and as far as The CW boss is concerned, his network is not in any danger of going anywhere.
“Well, all I can tell you is for many years since I’ve been in the industry, from a broadcasting point of view, they’ve been saying broadcasting is dead. It’s far from dead.
I think cable is going through whatever contraction. We’ve seen this before Kevin [Reilly] came out and spoke about it. You saw Viacom announcing they were looking at what their priority services were going to be. We’ve seen Discovery discuss it. There will be contraction. It’s just the nature of the beast.
But the one thing I am confident of is that the way The CW is situated today as a multi‑platform player, it’s going to be around for a hell of a long time.”
Pedowitz has been in charge of The CW since 2011. He’s ushered the network to its current success with Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow, and seen it earn critical acclaim and awards for the diverse, female-fronted series Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. His acknowledgment of the necessity of embracing digital platforms in addition to traditional linear viewing has been echoed by others at the TCA, but the optimistic perspective Pedowitz has on the on the state of his network amidst the ongoing shifts in the industry is perhaps not too surprising in the wake of the network’s more recently elevated profile.
The business of television is certainly changing, and broadcast networks are bearing the brunt of that change in many ways. How The CW continues to respond and evolve in the years to come will be fascinating to watch.
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