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The CW Stresses One-Brand Approach at Upfront Event

Mark Pedowitz, chairman and CEO of The CW Network speaks onstage during The CW Network's 2022 Upfront Presentation at New York City Center on May 19, 2022 in New York City.
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The CW)

The CW presentation began with a bang, as Stevie Wonder opened things up. Wonder slid in a few “CW is the way!” calls during “Superstition”, then gave way to Mark Pedowitz, CEO and chairman of the network.

“Our brand is open to all and daring to defy,” he said, noting The CW’s “diverse and passionate audience.”

Rob Tuck, executive VP of national sales, said the event would be a bit more streamlined than the competition’s. “We’re going to keep things pretty simple…by only talking about one network,” he said.

Walker star Jared Padalecki was out next, sharing how season two finished filming over the weekend. Spinoff Walker: Independence, he said, is “the next chapter,” and “the previous chapter” in the Walker story.

He described the prequel as “a wild west adventure,” and brought out the cast, including Katherine McNamara and Matt Barr. McNamara promised “mystery, murder, revenge, justice and romance, and that’s just the first episode.”

Upfronts 2022: Complete Coverage

Pedowitz came back, and spoke of the industry being in “a state of transition to say the least,” with The CW attracting interest from would-be buyers. He stressed the impact the CW brand has had on popular culture. He mentioned how The CW is on broadcast and streaming, as well as social, always under the one brand name.

Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch were out next. Tulloch said the superhero series has lots of heroes, but called Pedowitz “the real champion.”

“He’s always been very supportive of our show,” she said, “and we are grateful.”

Pedowitz mentioned a new initiative centered on mental health, which he called “the most pressing issue facing young people today.” Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy called The CW “such an important partner” on the venture, which will see programming and social media touching on the topic.

The cast of The Winchesters was out next, Jensen Ackles saying how it felt like “I was literally just here to say goodbye to Supernatural.”

Star Drake Rodger said he’s “so in love with the story and so in love with the characters.”

Pedowitz talked up midseason show Gotham Knights, and added, “We are still very much in the superhero business.”

Supernatural alum Misha Collins, who plays Harvey Dent on Gotham Knights, said “It’s such a delight to be back with The CW.”

Pedowitz touched on event programming, including The Critics’ Choice Awards and The Waltons’ Homecoming, before Padalecki, Ackles and Collins came out in a humorous bit, pitching Pedowitz some wacky special event ideas, including Walker, Texas Rabbi

“We’ll be in touch,” quipped Pedowitz. 

He then shared the fall schedule, including All American and All American: Homecoming on Mondays. Homecoming lead Geffri Maya Hightower said, as an HBCU grad, she’s delighted to share the experience with viewers. 

When the schedule unveiling was done, Pedowitz said with delight, “There is an actual fall schedule!”

Nearer term, summer shows include Tom Swift, an “action packed drama about a millionaire inventor uncovering the mysteries of the universe,” went the promo copy. Tian Richards stars. Cast member Ashleigh Murray described it as the “dangerous, unpredictable, sexy world of Tom Swift.” 

The midseason includes Gotham Knights, Flash, Superman & Lois and Riverdale, with Riverdale set to roll out its seventh and final season. Star KJ Apa said he won’t miss dyeing his hair every week, but promised the show would go out “with a bang.”

“It has certainly been one helluva ride for Riverdale,” said Pedowitz. 

A tidy hour after it began, The CW event then wrapped. “I promise we are just getting started,” vowed Pedowitz. ■

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.