In Depth

Master of Horror: Eric Kripke

The CW may be synonymous with rich-teen fare like “Gossip Girl” and “90210,” but a horror show is thriving on its Thursday-night schedule against heavy competition from “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI.”

That CW show is “Supernatural,” in which creator Eric Kripke brings the film world’s taste for horror to the small screen.

Escapism Artists

“We always set out to try to reflect what was going on with horror in features,” said Mr. Kripke. “The only mainstream horror show before us was ‘Buffy.’ I was a huge fan of ‘Buffy,’ but you can’t particularly say they took their scares seriously. We felt when we were starting ‘Supernatural’ that we were a little bit, in terms of television, on virgin territory.”

Mr. Kripke also has given his take on horror a “distinctly middle-American” vibe, with “urban legends, truck stops, diners, old crossroads, blues and classic rock.”

Though the show mostly flies under the radar—“Sometimes we feel we’re the best-kept secret since the Manhattan Project,” he said— its fourth-season premiere on Sept. 18 garnered nearly 4 million viewers, putting it ahead of those much-talked-about teen dramas.

Still, Mr. Kripke is “cautiously excited.”

In the meantime, he’s riding “Supernatural’s” screams. A two-year deal with Warner Bros. TV will keep him on as showrunner and also calls for Mr. Kripke, who’s “very interested in doing the genre again,” to develop new projects.

So how about that remark about a possible spinoff?

“It’s really up to Warner Bros. Would they really want to do an Old West ‘Supernatural’ spinoff? Doesn’t that just scream commercial?” Mr. Kripke said with a laugh.