Eight months ago, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was, as the name suggests, dumped. These days, it’s the star debutante of The CW’s fall season, occupying the plum Monday 8 p.m. slot that leads into Jane the Virgin. The CW is betting big on the hour-long musical comedy, and Rachel Bloom—cocreator, executive producer and star—says it’s a right fit with Jane. “They’re different shows, but both are optimistic shows,” Bloom says. “Both are about young women in crisis.”
The CW traditionally holds its new series premieres until mid-October, which allows for more sampling after the buzz-gobbling Big Four debuts have mostly happened, and extends the flow of originals deeper into the season. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend launches Oct. 12. Mark Pedowitz, CW president, describes it as “blue sky”—CW-speak for bright, amusing and ambitious. Last week, the network ordered five additional scripts.
Analyzing the first few weeks of the season, Pedowitz is pleased to see more live-plus-three ratings factored into a show’s performance, which benefits a young-skewing network such as The CW. His game plan has not changed based on how the season has played out thus far. “We’re very comfortable with the strategy we have,” Pedowitz says. “We’re very proud of the programs we’ve put together.”
No Go For Show
While Crazy Ex was developed for Showtime as a half-hour comedy, the premium cable net ultimately scrapped the program, whose sunny demeanor did not fit at a place where comedies such as Shameless shade darker. The pilot, written by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, was shopped elsewhere, which Bloom describes as a grueling process. In one day, she says, six networks passed. “I very much mourned the show,” she says. “I grieved for it like a lost relative.”
The pickup by The CW, a corporate sibling of Showtime’s, happened quickly; within a week, Bloom was on a plane to New York for the upfront presentation. “It was the definition of a whirlwind,” Bloom says.
The program was extended nine minutes, allowing for more character development, and the language cleaned up for broadcast TV. Crazy Ex features Bloom as a New York lawyer who drops everything to chase an ex-boyfriend to West Covina, Calif., and frequently breaks into amusing, and richly choreographed, song-and-dance numbers. CW is promoting Crazy Ex on billboards and buses and in magazine ad spreads. Bloom is using YouTube to give users a taste of its music and humor. “The Sexy Getting Ready Song,” featuring her amusingly hapless Rebecca character prepping for a date, tallied around 30,000 views within three days of being posted. It’s also available in iTunes.
While sketch comedy shows such as Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City often feature their creators as performers, such multi-hyphenating is much less common in traditional series. Bloom, who has performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, says it’s not that crazy among sketch veterans. “That’s what you do,” she says. “You write and perform your own material.”
It makes for some long workdays on and around the Crazy Ex set. Adds Bloom: “I’ve put everything into this.”
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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