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The CW Boss Defends Showrunner in ‘The 100’ Lesbian Death Controversy

TCA: The CW President Mark Pedowitz on "Supergirl" expectations, the end of "The Vampire Diaries" and how "Supernatural" will never end.

Mark Pedowitz and Gina Rodriguez


The CW president Mark Pedowitz says he learned quite a bit from the recent controversy surrounding “The 100” – but perhaps not in the way you’d expect.

Some fans were taken aback in Season 3 after Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) was killed just after with sleeping with another woman. The death was considered a hallmark in the “Bury Your Gays” trope, in which critics pointed to how often LGBTQ characters die on television.

Pedowitz said he was surprised by the backlash on social media. “Social media goes both ways,” he said. “They can adore you and they can bite you. At the same time, we’ve learned that you have to support your showrunner. It’s about the storytelling.”

READ MORE: ‘The 100’ Dodges Controversy Even As It Mourns Lexa At San Diego Comic-Con

The exec said showrunner Jason Rothenberg also experienced “a great learning curve for what social media can do, whether you’re being adored or hated at any given time.” But he stood behind “The 100” executive producer: “We’re a big believer in letting showrunners tell their stories,” he said. “If you start limiting certain things, you’re limiting their ability to be creative. My take on this is, I think there was much more of a social media reaction and how Jason handled the social media reaction.” (Rothenberg later posted a public letter to fans, apologizing for the way Lexa’s death was handled.)

Pedowitz said GLAAD did not reach out to him or The CW about the controversy. He also addressed a separate feud between Rothenberg and former “The 100” player Ricky Wittle, who felt he didn’t get enough lines or screen time on the show. Pedowitz said that is up to a showrunner’s discretion.

READ MORE: The CW Upfronts Preview: ‘Supergirl’ Leads Its Comic Book Domination

Meanwhile, in discussing the move of “Supergirl” from CBS to The CW, Pedowitz said he “couldn’t sign up fast enough” when the show became available. (It’s now been placed straight in the network’s “Arrow-verse,” along side “The Flash” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.”)

In moving “Supergirl” to a smaller network, he admits that “there’s no question it probably will not do as well as it did on CBS, even at the end of the season. But whatever it does, it will probably be our No. 1 or No. 2 show of the season.”

Even if “Supergirl” does half of its CBS average of 6 million viewers, “I’ll be dancing,” Pedowitz said.

As for “Legends,” Pedowitz said the spin-off “last year didn’t perform as well as it should have. We made some mistakes. We think this year we will correct it. Sometimes it gets too confusing.”

READ MORE: The CW Trailers, Ranked: ‘Frequency,’ ‘No Tomorrow’ and ‘Supergirl’ Galore

The decision to end the run of “The Vampire Diaries” was led by executive producer Julie Plec, who pushed The CW and Warner Bros. TV that “this was the right time to end the series, to go out in the right way.” Discussions are ongoing with former star Nina Dobrev about returning at some point during the final season.

“She was great for The CW and integral for ‘The Vampire Diaries,'” Pedowitz said. “Hopefully she’ll be back. Should it not work out, Julie has planned a great season finale that will satisfy fans.”

The end of “TVD” won’t impact spinoff “The Originals.” “It’s a separate series at this point,” he said. “The share mythology but they diverged.”

As for long-running drama “Supernatural,” no end is in sight. Talk of attempting another spin-off series is still just talk. “It’s still a priority, it just hasn’t happened,” Pedowitz said. “I’ll leave it to the studio to decide when its ready to be developed.”

Attempts to remake “Friday the 13th” and “Little Women” are no longer in development, but The CW is still developing a new take on “The Notebook.”

The CW’s “Mad TV” reboot has been met with low ratings this summer. “Thank God I work at the CW and we have great patience,” Pedowitz said. “I’ve been disappointed with the live plus same day numbers so far. I have great faith in the creative team there, It fits what we are in the summer. Let’s see what happens. No decision has been made” on the show’s future.

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