'The 100' EP on Emmy nomination: It's 'a big deal for The CW. I'm proud of that'

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the-100-the-ark-visual-effects.jpg "The 100" constantly pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be a CW show all throughout Season 1. And now, it's pushing those boundaries yet again ... with an Emmy nomination.

Along with "The Originals" (nominated for Outstanding Hairstyling), "The 100" (nominated for Outstanding Special and Visual Effects) is breaking new ground by being the first CW shows nominated for an Emmy, ever. 

"It's a big deal for The CW," executive producer Jason Rothenberg tells Zap2it. "I'm proud of that. A lot of those effects originated in the minds of the writers on our staff and in my mind. And Zoic [Studios, the company that does the effects on the show] is amazing. They've been able to execute everything we've come up with. I joke with them all the time about how they lost money on us last year, but they got nominated for an Emmy."

So it's totally worth losing a few bucks, right? "The day they got nominated, we were in a Viz FX meeting for episode 2," Rothenberg says. "I was like, 'Listen, congratulations on your Emmy. Well deserved. You're going to keep losing money on us in Season 2, though, because we're going to try and get you another one!'"

Check out what else Rothenberg had to say about the successful Season 1, upcoming Season 2 and more:

Zap2it: There were so many moments in the Season 1 finale that were a direct callback to the pilot, like Kane and Abby breathing fresh air on the ground for the first time. Was that deliberate or a happy accident?
Jason Rothenberg: There were definitely a couple moments in [episode] 13 that we wanted to be reminiscent of the pilot. One was that moment, for sure, when the kids took their first breath and the adults taking their first breath. The other moment was the drop ship door opening, with Clarke and everyone walking into the burnt, blackened camp. That was really a direct mirror image of the pilot when the door opens and they come out into the green, beautiful world and Octavia says, "We're back, b****es!" (Which I kind of regret that line a little bit.)

Tell me a little bit about the significance of showing those mirror image moments.
It was important to me that we show how dark and violent and gritty this show is and in the pilot, we were living in a little bit of a different world. The pilot was more of a CW young-adult fiction show, but I feel like we really grounded it over the course of the season and I'm proud of the mirror image of those two moments.

Looking back on the Season 1 pilot, you really did make "The 100" a completely different show by the finale. How does it feel knowing that you're changing what people expect from a CW show?
When I first sat down with the producers and Alloy Entertainment, I said, "Listen. There's no reason why we can't do more serious drama, 'Game of Thrones'-level, 'The Walking Dead'-level intensity and not care about love triangles, the fashion of it, or any of that." I don't think that we're changing anything about the network, I think they have made a conscious choice to start telling better, more grounded, genre stories. We're lucky to come around at a time when Mark Pedowitz is a fan of that stuff and is pushing us in that direction, and we're running happily in that same direction. And now I'm running it for the first time, they're giving me enough rope to hang myself with, basically. It's all on me now, and if it works, great, and if it doesn't, then you can blame me!

Are we going to see the show change drastically from episode 1 to the finale again in Season 2 like you did with Season 1?
Well, I think the tone has been set now. In our best episodes of last year, which was 4 and 7 and 10 and the finale, that's where we live. But the show is going to change because we're introducing new worlds and new characters. It's not just the Reapers and Grounders and the Ark and the 100. There are other groups -- and I was actually about to give a big reveal but I won't! -- and we will quickly establish that there are other things to be afraid of out there.

Will Octavia and Lincoln be the first ones to come across this new threat since they're traveling away from the 100?
They do come through their story. Lincoln is taking Octavia, theoretically, to the sea and his friends Luna at the Sea. They won't make it that far. That's a long f***ing way. Stuff will happen along the way to divert them. This season is about reunions. Bellamy and Octavia are separated ... although Bellamy might not be alive [laughs]. Abby is on the ground, but Clarke is in Mount Weather. Clarke thinks Abby is dead, so that's a reunion that you could probably assume will happen at some point if Clarke can get out of there. So this season is about reunions and bringing people back together, finding their way back home.

Season 2 also has a bigger episode count than Season 1, but it's still only 16 episodes as opposed to 22. How do you feel about that?
I don't understand how people do it with 22 episodes. That is just too much, it's ridiculous. There just isn't enough story to fill that many episodes. Maybe it works for a procedural where you're solving a different case every episode, but with a show like ours that is so serialized, it gets ridiculous.

Yeah, that's where you'll get filler episodes in midseason that are generally not as good.
And we don't want to do that. Last year, one of the thing's I'm proudest of, is that there were no bad episodes. Some I didn't love, but I didn't hate any of them. We delivered a good story every week, and if we had to do 22, I couldn't make that same guarantee. This year we have a little bit more money, we have a little bit more time, it's going to be a bigger show, it's going to be a better show in a lot of ways. We're really early in it right now but I'm excited about what we're doing.

"The 100" Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW