For CW President Mark Pedowitz, spinning off a show from his network's biggest hit was a no-brainer.
"I'm a big believer if you have something that is working and you can incubate it and find a way to get it on the air, it's a good way to get pilots done," Pedowitz said of the upcoming Vampire Diaries spin-off Sunday at the Television Critics Association winter previews.
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The pilot, which will air as an episode of The Vampire Diaries on April 25, will focus on Joseph Morgan's Klaus and the members of the Original Family of vampires in New Orleans. "Klaus was the founding father of New Orleans, and the show is set in that venue," Pedowitz said. "Klaus is just a great character and the Original Family has such dysfunctional family dynamics. We felt it was a great way to go to take the show."
Also on board for the show is Phoebe Tonkin's Haley, which Pedowitz said ruled out some rumblings about Tonkin playing the lead role in the network's Amazon, an origin-story take on Wonder Woman. "We haven't thought about her in terms of Wonder Woman," Pedowitz said. "We're waiting to see the script and are busy casting Diana."
Keep reading for more highlights from Pedowtiz's executive session, including other pilots in contention for next season as well as which shows have a shot at returning.
Returning winter shows: Where we left off and what's next
The Selection: The Hunger Games-esque pilot failed to receive a series pickup during last year's development season, but Pedowitz said he's read a retooled script and it remains in contention for next year. "It's very well done," he said.
Supernatural: Pedowitz said no official decision has been made about a ninth season for the show, but prospects are high. "We are pleased with how Wednesday night has turned out, with Arrow being a bonafide hit and Supernatural actually gaining viewers again," he said. "I think creatively the show is in a great place and there's always a good shot."
What about Hart of Dixie and 90210? Similarly, Pedowitz made no determination about the shows' futures. (He is a fan of Dixie, which he said is performing on-par with expectations). However, speaking specifically of 90210, he said it's important that long-running — shows such as One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl — get a proper ending. "I'm a big believer in giving fans a very satisfactory conclusion," Pedowitz said. "It's something we as a TV industry need to do. [Viewers] who invested that time deserve that sort of gift."
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Battle Royale: Following earlier reports that The CW was pursuing adapting the violent Japanese novel about a group of high schoolers who are dropped on an island and must kill each other, Pedowitz confirmed that the project wouldn't be moving forward. Although he did reach out to ask about obtaining rights to the book, "we were not able to do anything" Pedowitz said, noting that his interest in the project pre-dated the shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. "We are not planning on doing anything with Battle Royale. ... Nothing happened."
Beauty and the Beast: Pedowitz is happy with the freshman show and noted its recent win at the People's Choice Awards. "We're very pleased with it creatively," he said. "It's on par with Secret Circle in terms of total viewers. Based on the passion of fans, we think we have something."
The L.A. Complex: Pedowitz said he was "disappointed" that the Canadian broadcaster the CW partnered with on the show failed to pick it up for another season. Although the CW tried to find a way to keep the show going on its own, he said it didn't work economically.
Reality Rules: Pedowitz said the CW renewed Oh Sit! and Breaking Pointe as part of the network's strategy to get "more original programming so we are on the air on the summer." Additionally, this summer the network will add two new unscripted shows: The Hunt (a competition series that puts contestants into the wilderness with no supplies) and The Perfect Score, a half-hour series that features contestants taking compatibility tests to find an ideal mate. Pedowitz also remains committed to America's Next Top Model, which is in production on a new cycle that includes male models. "The show is a strong utility player," Pedowitz said.
Web Series: Pedowitz said the network is working on more original online content, including an animated series called Gallery Mallory, featuring the voices of Justin Hartley and Misha Collins, as well as a series featuring Hart of Dixie's Wilson Bethel.