With all the hits The CW keeps churning out, it’s no wonder the network just extended president Mark Pedowitz’s contract. However, it is somewhat surprising that a spinoff of one of its newest hits, Riverdale, won’t be airing on the network, but instead on Netflix.
Granted, Riverdale’s popularity got quite a boost once the first season became available on Netflix, so there is a history there. But until now, we haven’t heard much beyond speculation as to why spinoff Sabrina the Teenage Witch won’t be airing on The CW, despite the network originally developing the upcoming series, based on Archie Comics’ book, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
According to an interview with Deadline, Pedowitz is now commenting on what happened with the deal with Netflix, a process he was “deeply involved” with:
“It was a decision which I understood from a business point of view. Netflix offered them a two-year deal, we weren’t going to do that. Netflix has had great success and should get some credit for helping us get Riverdale binged, and our guys get a lot of credit from bringing the guys who binged (on Netflix) back to the network and our digital site. I wish them the best.”
Last month, Netflix sealed a 20-episode, two-season, straight-to-series order, based on Riverdale’s popularity on the streaming service. Last week, it announced that Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men fame would be taking on the titular role of the bewitched teenager, and that the show would be considerably darker than its mid-‘90s ABC predecessor.
Per that press release, executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa noted that “this is a darker, more macabre version of Sabrina,” which is more in line Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. Earlier reports noted that The CW might have been willing to part ways with the Sabrina spinoff because of the network’s planned Charmed reboot created by Jane the Virgin’s Jennie Snyder Urman. But Pedowitz dismissed that idea:
“The real similarities between the two shows is witches. They were very different concepts in how they will be handled — one has Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s patina to it, one has Jenny Urman’s — very different storytellers, very different versions of what the show should be.”
Though there’s no word on a release date as of yet, we’ll see what Aquirre-Sacasa’s concepts are soon enough, on Netflix though, and not The CW.