CW president Mark Pedowitz said the network will not move forwward on "Battle Royale," a drama about junior high students forced to kill each other that the network once explored developing. He also talked about the network's high hopes for a considerably cheerier series, the "Sex and the City" prequel "The Carrie Diaries," and his continued disappointment with Nielsen tracking.
Pedowitz spoke at a Television Critics Association panel Sunday, where he also said "Supernatural" has a "good shot" at returning for a ninth season. And he described the network's exploration of a "Vampire Diaries" spinoff that would focus on the original vampires.
Pedowitz was pressed on whether the network would pursue "Battle Royale," based on a "Hunger Games"-like Japanese novel and film, in light of recent mass killings. He said the network had only looked into whether the rights to the project were available, and that the project had gone no further than that.
Another "Hunger Games"-like project, however, remains in play at the network. The CW passed over "The Selection" last pilot season, but decided to continue developing it. A new version of the script was recently completed, he said.
The project, based on a planned series of young adult novels, follows a young woman who competes with others for the affections of a prince in a war-torn future.
The CW, which has targeted young women 18-34 for most of its six years, has tried to expand its audience under Pedowitz's leadership. This fall, the show increased its total viewers by about 10 percent, even as it remained roughly flat in the 18-34 demographic and the 18-49 demo most important to advertisers.
But "The Carrie Diaries," which debuts Monday, may help the network make inroads with both older and younger audiences. As Pedowitz explained, the show targets younger viewers because its protagonist, Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb), is 16. But it may also appeal to people who remember its 1984 setting.
The CW has long argued that its viewership isn't properly reflected in Nielsen numbers because so many viewers watch the show online. On Sunday, Pedowitz said Nielsen "needs to technologically catch up" with current viewing patterns. He also said his network continues to try to develop its own way of tracking its viewership.