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CW Boss on Nina Dobrev's Vampire Diaries Return, a Fifth Superhero Night

Plus: Will Supernatural ever end?

Joyce Eng

If everything works out, you'll see Elena Gilbert back in Mystic Falls soon.

CW President Mark Pedowitz confirmed at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Thursday that Nina Dobrev is in talks to return to The Vampire Diaries for its eighth and final season.

"There are discussions going on with Nina," Pedowitz said. "We'd love to have her back. She was great for the CW. She was integral to The Vampire Diaries. These are discussions that go on. Hopefully she'll be back."

If Dobrev, who left at the end of Season 6, does not return, Pedowitz said executive producer Julie Plec has "planned a great series finale" regardless.

As for the call to end the long-running -- and network-defining - series, Pedowitz said it was ultimately Plec's decision. "Peter Roth and Julie and I had discussions. We collectively came to the same place," he said. "Julie really got there even before Peter and I did, which was this was the right time to end the series, go out in the right way. We backed Julie on that decision."

Here are other highlights from the panel:

A fifth superhero night?: Now that Supergirl has moved from parent company CBS, The CW now has four nights of superhero shows -- but a full week's worth is not on tap for now. "At this time, there are no real discussions about any other superhero characters," Pedowitz said. "If someone pops [on the Arrow-verse], you reexamine the situation, but at this time there are no discussions about anything else." Such might be the case with The Ray, the new animated series featuring the first gay superhero lead, which will premiere on the digital platform CW Seed in 2017. "[We would love to] bring The Ray to life as a live-action hero at some point," Pedowitz said.

A super move: Acquiring Supergirl also forced The CW to make its "biggest adjustment" to the schedule, by moving Crazy Ex-Girlfriend out of its Mondays-at-8 timeslot to make way for Kara Jor-El. "When Supergirl became available, I couldn't sign up fast enough for it," Pedowitz said. "We recognized immediately it had to be Mondays at 8." Pedowitz said he doesn't expect Supergirl to pull in the numbers it did on CBS, but he predicts it will be The CW's No. 1 or 2 show this season.

Supernatural is the show that will never end: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Pedowitz reaffirmed that Supernatural will run for as long as Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and the producers want to do it. "If the ratings hold, the show could outlast my tenure in this chair [as network president]," Pedowitz quipped.

Episode orders: Because The CW has 15 series this season, Pedowitz confirmed that not every show will have a full 22-episode season order. Its midseason shows -- The 100, iZombie,The Originals and Riverdale- will consist of 13 episodes at this time, as will Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Reignwill have 16 episodes.

The Originals' future: The Vampire Diaries ending will have no bearing on its spin-off, which Pedowitz now views as its own entity. "It's a separate series at this point," he said. "It could live very well on its own [after The Vampire Diaries]. I'm hopeful we'll see a fifth year. "

Legend-ary problems: Pedowitz, who said he's not confused by the DC verse's complicated timeline, admitted that the first season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow was... underwhelming, to say the least. "We thought Legends last year did not perform as well as it should have," he said. "We thought it had great potential. This year we will correct it."
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, the parent company of The CW.)