By Meredith Blake
The CW may be known for shows about young, photogenic vampires and young, photogenic superheroes, but at its upfront presentation Thursday, the Little Network That Could put its eccentric heroines front and center.
After paying tribute to the CW’s 10th anniversary by playing a round of “Never Have I Ever” in character, the women struck a more earnest note.
Rodriguez praised the network for making shows “that are transforming the way we look at our culture, the way we look at women in the industry.”
“Our network has a lineup of so many shows led by women and run by women, which is incredible,” she said.
Both “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” have female show runners (Jennie Snyder Urman and Aline Brosh McKenna, respectively), as do the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (Julie Plec) and “Supergirl” (Allison Adler), which has been moved over from CBS.
Bloom continued Rodriguez’s line of commentary, calling the CW’s gender balance “awesome and surprisingly rare, considering we’re half the world. So I don’t know why it’s taken this long. We’re like 51% of Earth.”
The remarks earned a hearty round of applause from the crowd at City Center, and one hopes that executives at the CW’s corporate cousin, CBS, with six new fall shows about white men, were listening.
With perfect comic timing, Bloom then threw to “the man who made it all possible,” network president Mark Pedowitz. He boasted that the CW was the most critically acclaimed broadcast network — a claim that he certainly couldn’t make without “Jane the Virgin” or “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
“Jane the Virgin,” which premiered in 2014, is a telenovela spoof about an aspiring writer who is accidentally impregnated during a mishap at the gynecologist’s office. The musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” follows a high-powered lawyer who relocates cross-country in pursuit of a guy she briefly dated as a teenager.
While neither is a ratings hit, and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” in particular has struggled to find an audience, both are critical darlings lauded for their portrayals of ambitious, flawed young women and their particular struggles. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has humorously taken on mental health, body image and even Jewish identity, while “Jane the Virgin” has been praised for its realistic depiction of early motherhood and the plight of undocumented immigrants.
The shows’ popularity with critics and journalists has helped to rapidly change perceptions of the CW, which just a few years ago made self-deprecating jokes on Twitter about its lightweight reputation. Now, it’s got For Your Consideration campaigns to worry about. What a difference a few funny women can make.
Original post appeared on L.A. Times and can be viewed here.