I remember at Comic-Con this time last year being part of an introductory press session for a new show on The CW. The execs were pretty high on this show and hoped Comic-Con would be the perfect springboard. That show was The Vampire Diaries. The press room ended up only half full. The show’s first panel didn’t go smoothly either.
“Our famous Comic-Con story is the hall we were in last year was one of the halls where people were lining up for future panels,” executive producer Julie Plec recalled in this year’s very crowded press session after the panel. “A lot of the audience in our panel were waiting for a really awesome and macho guy, guy panel that was coming up next [Mythbusters]. We screened the pilot and where I feel was the most romantic, beautiful moment of the pilot, him looking at her picture, the whole audience was just like 'yech.'"
At this year’s 2010 Comic-Con, it was an entirely different story. The Vampire Diaries has gone on to be a huge hit for The CW, becoming in just one season their number one show in all categories, especially the coveted female 18-34 demographic that the network craves. The buzz at this year’s Comic-Con was very big as fans packed the WB booth for the cast's and producers’ autographs and jammed into the cavernous Ballroom 20 for The Vampire Diaries panel.
Comic-Con 2010 panel, photo courtesy of Warner Brothers
Ian Somerhandler (Damon) certainly noticed the difference. “We just finished a panel with 4200 out there. It’s insane. It was so cool.” Nina Dobrev (Elena) also noticed. “Now people are watching the rooms are more packed, a lot more people opposed to 1100 last year, and that just makes us more excited because they’re excited and there’s a renewed enthusiasm.”
Executive producer Kevin Williamson had a more grounded perspective on the show’s success and their triumphant return to Comic-Con. “Well, it could have gone three ways. It could have gone really well like it did, or it could have gone really poorly, or it could have been right there, [on] the bubble and dragged its way to a pickup. Luckily we kind of struck a chord with the viewers on The CW and they watch it.”