The CW is hoping to capitalize on the forward momentum it created last season with the strong debuts of Jane the Virgin and The Flash, and it looks like the network feels confident its upcoming slate will continue to elevate its status as a purveyor of quality programming. But how confident is it? On Monday, the network ordered five additional back-up scripts for its beloved series iZombie and incoming freshman comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, according to Deadline.
Scheduled to debut its second season on Tuesday, October 6 after The Flash, iZombiestars Rose McIver as a medical-student-turned-zombie who works in a morgue and helps solve murder cases by using the flashes of memories she receives from the deceased after ingesting their brains to retain her humanity. The show's freshman season, which also stars Robert Buckley, Rahul Kohli, David Anders, Malcolm Goodwin, and Aly Michalka, was well-received by fans and critics, earning the series an initial 13-episode Season 2 renewal last spring.
Meanwhile, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which debuts Monday, October 12 at 8pm ahead of the second season of Jane the Virgin, stars Rachel Bloom as a lawyer who packs up her stressful but successful life in Manhattan to move to West Covina, California on a whim to chase after an old boyfriend and a chance at real happiness. The series was originally developed as a half-hour comedy for Showtime but made the transition to an hour-long program after The CW picked it up to series.
Now, here's the tricky part: The CW currently only airs 10 hours of new programming a week, 8-10pm Monday through Friday. If these additional scripts should eventually turn into full-season orders of 22 episodes for both series, where does that leave the three midseason dramas waiting in the wings?
The network renewed the critically acclaimed drama The 100 for a third season last spring, and many assumed the post-apocalyptic series would take over the time period vacated by iZombie after it wrapped up its 13-episode order. But there was always an option to be picked up for 22 episodes and iZombie creator Rob Thomas said on Monday that he's been writing this season with that in mind. "If we only get 13 episodes, we are going to be in big trouble," said Thomas. "I'm structuring this season like we're doing 22. If we don't get a back-nine order and end up only doing 13, it will just feel like the water cut off midstream." Meanwhile, the show's executive producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright said "it was never an option to plan for a straight 13."
But The 100 isn't the only series the network has on deck. The CW also has new contagion drama Containment from Vampire Diaries and Originals EP Julie Plec and the Arrow/The Flash spin-off DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Assuming The 100 gets top billing based on proven critical reception, where does that leave them? This fall, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will take over The Originals' old Monday time period as it is now paired withTVD on Thursday evenings, which has pushed period drama Reign to Fridays where it's paired with America's Next Top Model. Will one of the new projects eventually slide into the open Top Model time period once it wraps up its current cycle? Will The CW consider expanding to include Sunday programming again, which was eliminated in 2009 thus giving the airwaves back to local affiliates? Or will the network take a cue from ABC and attempt to use Legends of Tomorrow to bridge an extra-long hiatus for either The Flash or Arrow, even though that series builds off the events of both programs and should stand as its own full-fledged adventure? Of course, there's also the option the network will simply feature fewer repeats and shorter hiatuses during the season thus opening up the schedule for a late spring debut. Still, it's also possible the network saves one or both series for summer.
The CW President Mark Pedowitz has been very vocal about his desire to expand the network's slate of original summer programming. It currently has an okay foundation with super-popular-oversees-drama Beauty and the Beast, which has already been renewed for Season 4, but it has found little success in its many attempts to schedule programming around it. Could either Containment or Legends of Tomorrow be pushed to summer to further help solidify the schedule?
No matter what The CW decides to do should the additional script orders for iZombieand Crazy Ex-Girlfriend translate into back-nine episode orders, one thing is pretty clear: The CW currently has more quality programs than it almost knows what to do with, and that's a very good problem to have.