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The CW 2019-2020 Upfront Preview

The CW's coming season is already unprecedented. Are there more surprises ahead?
  •  A new generation of DC comics superheroes are coming to The CW, starting this fall with the Ruby-Rose starrer Batwoman
    A new generation of DC comics superheroes are coming to The CW, starting this fall with the Ruby-Rose starrer Batwoman

    Our resident script reader Jean-Maxime Renault has read the pilot scripts for almost all of this year's series pickups heading into upfront week. For his detailed thoughts on all of the year's contenders, be sure to check out his pilot script reviews

    The CW did something unprecedented this year: the young-skewing network renewed its entire slate, even the shows that didn't do well. Yep, I'm looking at you Dynasty and All American. Their business model has evolved in recent years and is now almost entirely based on streaming and international deals. Ratings don't really matter anymore. So the schedule doesn't really matter, either. For their development slate, with the exception of one original idea, all their pickups were based on existing IP. That's the course of history, I guess. So next year, more than ever, The CW will have year-round programming with new shows and new seasons from fall through summer. Which shows have they picked up? Which were left at the starting gate? The answers below:

    What they've ordered…

    Nobody ever doubted this one would be ordered. No previous DC Comics/Greg Berlanti pilot has been rejected, and it probably won't ever happen. So here we are, with Ruby Rose playing the lesbian and highly-trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing Gotham City’s criminal resurgence. Batwoman is said to mark the beginning of a new generation of superheroes on The CW, as Arrow comes to an end and others will follow sooner or later. 

    KATY KEENE (Pilot script review)
    After Netflix kind of stole The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina out from under The CW,  where it had originally been envisioned as a Riverdale spin-off, there was no way they'd let this one go. That's not to say they haven't already sold it to Netflix for the international market. Katy Keene is wildly diferent from Riverdale, but they need a dramedy soap, especially with Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gone. It's basically Gossip Girl meets Glee with a little Carrie Diaries and The Bold Type thrown in for good measure. The musical Lucy Hale-starrer could very well become our next CW obsession.

    NANCY DREW (Pilot script review)
    Launching a Nancy Drew TV series has been a priority for CBS Television Studios, which has had the rights to the classic mystery book series for quite a while now. After two failed attempts at CBS and NBC, they came to their senses and made it a CW young-adult drama produced by Gossip Girl's and Dynasty's Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage. They have found a way to make it fall within the framework of recent hit teen noir dramas like Riverdale while still being faithful to its iconic character and her famous adventures. Witty and charming, it's got the potential to be a great fit for the network.

    Still pending

    GLAMOROUS (Pilot script review)
    At press time, Glamorous was still not ordered to series, which is mind-boggling quite frankly. Their only original idea I mentioned earlier is right here. If the stars align, Glamorous has the potential to become a critically-acclaimed, award-winning show for The CW, and it'll be surprising if that didn't count anymore. Also, actor Ben J. Pierce as the gender-nonconforming lead is said to be a breakout. I have a feeling that no matter what happens with The CW, this show is too good to not to find its way to viewers, Hello Netflix?

    What they've rejected…

    JANE THE NOVELA (Pilot script review)
    Good call here. We know how much The CW loves spin-offs and franchises, but there was really no great clamor for a Jane The Virgin-universe. Don't get me wrong: Jane is a beloved show that earned the network critical accolades but it should stay its own beautiful thing. Jane The Novela was not as good or as fun as it should have been,and the anthology format doesn't seem like a great fit for the network. 

    THE LOST BOYS (Pilot script review)
    Launching a series adaptation of the iconic 1987 Warner Bros horror comedy movie The Lost Boys has been a priority for the CW (an earlier script was rejected), and although this second attempt is not going forward, a reworked new pilot maybe in the cards for next season. For a vampire tale to succeed on television in 2019, it really needs to be different from what we've seen before, and unfortunately this latest script lacked originality.

    We'll have complete coverage of The CW's upfront presentation on Thursday May 16th. In the meantime, check out our The CW 2019-2020 fantasy schedule and join us in the forums to share your opinion!

    Jean-Maxime Renault is a TV addict based in Paris who writes about television and movies on AlloCiné (aka "the French IMDB"). In 2015 he created Season Zero, a website about television development and pilot season, which is now a part of Primetimer. Follow him on Twitter @SeasonZeroCom

    TOPICS: The CW