How Ostroff Made the CW Drama Picks

Mar 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

While the Big 4 broadcasters completed their drama pilot pick-ups as early as several weeks ago, The CW, which was announced in late January and will debut this fall, had to select its offerings from the merged UPN and WB development slates.

With so many existing WB and UPN shows already in contention for fall, The CW needs dramatically less product than UPN and The WB combined would have required.

The CW President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff, who most recently served as UPN’s head honcho, ordered four drama pilots for the new network.

“Obviously, our schedule is going to look much different,” Ms. Ostroff said, declining to give the number of new dramas the network will order to series for next season. “Our needs have to be re-evaluated.”

That UPN and The WB both focused on young adult audiences, the same The CW will aim for, eased the process, she said.

But the merger of the networks left some studio executives disappointed about the fate of specific projects that didn’t make the new limited CW cut. Among those affected was Morgan Wandell, Touchstone Television’s senior VP of drama series.

“We had one project we were so excited about at The WB,” he said. “It’s always a little bit of a sad day when you have a buyer going away.”

But one strong network with the opportunity to launch and promote a successful show is far better for studios than two weak broadcasters, he said.

“Let’s hope The CW has a much better chance of being economically viable,” he added.