The CW President Reveals Why They Passed on 'Sabrina'

The first Riverdale spinoff show, based on the horror comic Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, was originally announced to be in development for The CW. But the network is now out of the picture and Netflix gave the series a two-season order.

The CW President Mark Pedowitz recently spoke with Deadline about the change in plans, revealing why they didn't pick up the companion series to their hugely successful teen drama, indicating there were no hard feelings in the move.

"I was aware, I was deeply involved with [WBTV president] Peter [Roth] on the whole thing," said Pedowitz. "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."

Some industry insiders speculated the decision to move on from Sabrina had to do with The CW's development of the Charmed reboot from Jane The Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman. Pedowitz denied those rumors in the interview.

"The real similarities between the two shows is witches," Pedowitz said. "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."

Pedowitz's comments come in the wake of the first major casting announcement for the Sabrina series, with Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka landing the lead role.

Riverdale showrunner, who will also be handling the Sabrina spinoff, spoke about the casting with a statement:


"We're all such huge fans of Kiernan's work that when we started talking about who this new incarnation of Sabrina could be, her name was on everyone's wish list," the statement said. "This is a darker, more macabre version of Sabrina, and we're incredibly excited for people to see Kiernan make this iconic character her own."

The untitled Sabrina series does not yet have a release date from Netflix.