TCA: ‘The Originals’ Hopes to Capture ‘Non-Vampire Diaries’ Fans

Executive producer Julie Plec said that viewers who avoided the vampire trend four years ago can come around to the new CW series

Although The CW's "The Originals" is a spinoff of its hit "The Vampire Diaries," executive producer Julie Plec appears to be distancing the shows from each other — at least for the time being.

"We've just had an audience grow with us after four years of 'The Vampire Diaries,'" Plec said at Tuesday's Television Critics Association press tour. "That show was more of a coming of age story, cemented in the idea of first love and struggles with being a vampire."

"This is a show that's not about struggling to be a vampire, it's about embracing vampirism, it's about revelling in it — some of these vampires are a thousand years old. It's really about the family community and power struggles over the family community and supernatural community in the same city. So, I think you can look at it as we've graduated from high school and college, and we're going for a Master's Degree in 'The Originals.'"

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"The Originals" was introduced as a backdoor pilot last season on "The Vampire Diaries." It tells the story of vampire/werewolf hybrid Klaus (Joseph Morgan) who returns to his old stomping grounds to find his protege, Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), has risen to lead its supernatural community. In an effort to win back the leadership, Klaus is joined by his family, including sister Rebekah (Claire Holt) and brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies). It also stars Phoebe Tonkin.

In order to give "The Originals" some time to establish itself as a standalone series, Plec said that crossovers between it and "The Vampire Diaries" probably won't happen for a while. And she hopes that will lead people who aren't fans of "TVD" to the new series.

"It's one of the most difficult tasks that we've had to do creatively," the showrunner said. "But, it's also the more important task. How do we creat a show, one, that stands on its own and doesn't have to rely creatively on the foundation of the mother ship and draw viewers who haven't seen a frame of 'The Vampire Diaries.'"

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The producer knows there's a large contingent of the viewing audience who were turned off of viewing "TVD's" pilot because of the "Twilight" trend.

"We work hard every day to make sure that a new audience can just feel like this is a new show they're joining along with everyone else," Plec said.