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Katy Keene Won't Be Haunted by Riverdale's Gargoyle Kings and Black Hoods

There will be way less murder and mayhem

Malcolm Venable

Katy Keene, the new spin-off of Riverdale, may feature Ashleigh Murray playing Josie McCoy, but don't expect The CW series to be as dark and supernatural as its parent series.

Following four aspiring artists trying to make it in New York City, Katy Keene is bright, optimistic, and hopeful. It has more in common -- at least tonally -- with Sex and the City than Riverdale, which often deals in murder and mayhem. Speaking with reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Sunday, executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who wrote the pilot with Michael Grassi, said that everyone who's seen the pilot has been smiling.

"It's fun to be talking about Broadway and fashion. We wanted this to be a New York City show; we said it was halfway between Sex and the City and Girls. We do have a lot of dark stuff [on Riverdale]; it's nice to have something different. This will be a nice complement," said Aguirre-Sacasa.

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In line with the fashion-obsessed roots of the comic, The CW version stars Lucy Hale as the eponymous character, an aspiring fashion designer trying to realize her ambitions while working as a personal shopper. Like other classic New York clique tales, Katy has a group of friends who support her while also reaching for their dreams. There's Jorge Lopez/Ginger (Jonny Beauchamp), a dancer and drag performer, "It Girl" Pepper Smith (Julia Chan), and her boyfriend KO Kelly (Zane Holtz), an aspiring boxer. Katy's roommate, Josie, is focused on her music career, but she helps maintain a sense of lightness that's even more pronounced than on Riverdale.

"Shooting the pilot for Katy was very different than Riverdale. I've been able to play with the rest of Josie's personality," said Murray. "On Riverdale she's secluded; she was good at minding her business. With this experience, it was a lot more fun for me to let Josie have fun."

Katy Keene premieres at midseason on The CW.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)

Ashleigh Murray, Lucy Hale, Katy Keene

Ashleigh Murray, Lucy Hale, Katy Keene

Barbara Nitke/The CW