Press Releases

Team Behind CW's Sleeper Hit Riverdale Share How Pop Culture Shaped Show's Comic Origins in August Emmy Magazine

The inspired minds behind the CW's hit murder mystery series Riverdale fought hard for a place to pay tribute to the Archie Comics of their childhood. In the latest issue of emmy magazine, the cast and creators reflect on their reinvention of the beloved comic universe for a brand-new audience.

The award-winning official publication of the Television Academy hits newsstands today.

Although the show has become a massive success, Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa initially struggled to find a place for his tribute to the Archie Comics series. After several failed story concept pitches, the CW showed interest in a storyline Aguirre-Sacasa describes as Twin Peaks-inspired.

In the emmy cover story "Their Kind of Town," the young cast shares how they strike a delicate balance between preserving the sacrosanct source material and modernizing the story for today's social climate. "We've been able to keep the basic characteristics, like Betty is sweet and generous, Veronica is a little spoiled and very confident, and Archie is a bit aloof," actress Lili Reinhart, who portrays Betty Cooper, explains. "But they've grown to be much deeper people."

One of the most prominent changes to the storyline is the absence of the dated love triangle between Archie, Betty and Veronica. "It would have been very problematic — when we're in the middle of this very progressive, feminist movement where positive changes are happening — to encourage that kind of relationship on a show that targets young women," actress Camila Mendes, who plays Veronica Lodge, says of the Betty-Veronica rivalry. "It would be very disrespectful."

The team recognized that any notable departures from the original Archie Comics series could potentially upset the fandom. "If you're working in pop culture, and you're reaching a passionate audience, there are going to be people who don't like what you do," Aguirre-Sacasa admits. "There are definitely haters; and fandom is not for the weak of heart, but you take it with a grain of salt."

"Reinventing something can give you a fresh perspective," explains CW president Mark Pedowitz. "Yes, you will upset the purists; but look what you gain if you get a new generation of fans."

Season three of Riverdale premieres October 10.

Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:

  • The sixth and final chapter of SyFy's Sharknado franchise, The Last Sharknado: It's About Time, premieres August 19. In "Tooth and Grail," a producer of the pop-culture phenomenon reflects on the series' wild success.
  • In "It's a Mod, Mod World," emmy celebrates the 50th anniversary of NBC's Emmy Award-winning comedy series, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The series, which first aired in 1968 during a turbulent time in American society, proved especially cathartic during the political upheaval of the era and left an indelible mark on the comedy landscape.
  • In "Public Spirit," emmy explores the reunification of KCET with its previous partner, PBS, and now sister station PBS SoCal, and what viewers can expect from the nation's largest independent public station moving forward.

About emmy
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. It showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make TV happen, from the stars of top shows to the pros behind the cameras, covering programming trends and advances in technology. Honored consistently for excellence, emmy is a six-time Maggie Award winner as Best Trade Publication in Communications or the Arts and has collected 52 Maggies from the Western Publishing Association. Emmy is available on selected newsstands and at for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.

Download the press release here.

For issue/coverage contacts:

Carla Schalman

Daina Rama

breakwhitelight for the Television Academy