CW Chief Challenged: Why the Models in Slinky Dresses at TCA?

“I’m curious why they feel the need to sexualize employees who are performing a basic function… when other networks don’t.”

Last Updated: July 10, 2014 @ 7:18 PM

Models in slinky dresses are a trademark of the CW’s presentations to the Television Critics Association. On Wednesday, one of the critics asked why.

At twice-annual TCA junkets, networks roll out stars, producers and executives, sit them on a stage, and have them answer questions from critics. The idea is to try to earn some good press.

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When reporters have questions, they raise their hands and network pages bring them microphones. For most networks, mic duty falls to young men and women (mostly women) who wear casual, comfortable clothes.

But the CW employs glammed-up models. Their other jobs include handing out press releases. The male models wear skinny jeans, shirts and hip tuxedo jackets. The female models wear strapless, cocktail-style dresses and heels.

In a panel with CW chief Mark Pedowitz, Alyssa Rosenberg, features editor of the progressive site, started by saying she had a “meta question.”

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Noting the different outfits for CW pages and those of other networks, she asked Pedowitz why the network dresses “especially the women who are working for you today” the way that the network does, “rather than practically.”

(She later explained to TheWrap: “I’m curious why they feel the need to sexualize employees who are performing a basic function… when other networks don’t.”)

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Pedowitz, whose network targets women 18-34, asked if she could make the question more succinct.

“Why, unlike every other network,” she asked, “do you have women who are working for you today in strapless dresses and heels?”

Pedowitz started to say the CW’s shows decide how their actresses dress for TCA panels. No, Rosenberg explained. She was talking about the pages, not the actresses.

“You know what? I don’t have an answer to that question,” said Pedowitz (pictured in 2011). “I’ll look into it.”

Later, TheWrap went and talked informally with the pages. They confirmed that they are models, booked through a talent agency. Asked if they felt exploited, they said no.

One of the women joked that she has done modeling gigs a lot harder than the one for CW, while wearing less clothing.

If you’re looking for pictures to see what exactly the models wear, don’t bother: TCA policies prohibit photographing stars, pages, and everyone else.