The CW has been acquired by Nexstar Media Group but Mark Pedowitz will remain as CEO, along with some shows already set to be released.
With the judicious cuts from Warner Bros. Discovery that came in the last month, The CW has been under a watchful scope. The local U.S. TV giant, Nexstar Media Group, confirmed their deal to acquire the broadcast network for a 75% ownership stake. The current CW CEO, Mark Pedowitz would be retaining their position in the company as Nexstar announced their plan to re-strategize the broadcast environment that The CW had struggled to rein in recent years. Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery will each keep their 12.5% stake in the venture.
Nexstar has been known to own approximately 199 local stations, including cable news channel NewsNation and the D.C. digital publication, The Hill, among other major assets. Pedowitz confirmed the broadcast network was up for sale earlier in the year and told staff, “So, what does this mean for us right now? It means we must continue to do what we do best, make The CW as successful and vibrant as we have always done.”
Pedowitz has been expected to continue running day-to-day operations for The CW as the buyout is planned to close by the third quarter. Nexstar noted how they hope to “create value for Nexstar shareholders by solidifying the company’s revenue opportunities as the largest CW affiliate, diversifying its content outside of news, increasing its exposure to the national advertising market, establishing it as a participant in advertising video-on-demand services and improving The CW ratings, revenue and profitability, by prioritizing programming for the network’s broadcast audience.”
Nexstar’s chairman and CEO, Perry Sook commented, “Our acquisition of The CW is strategically and operationally compelling, as it will enable us to leverage our operational experience to improve the network’s performance through our management of this powerful national platform. We plan to apply the same strict financial standards to operating The CW as we apply to our other businesses.”
President and CEO of Paramount’s CBS, George Cheeks added: “This new ownership structure enables us to partner with Nexstar and Warner Bros. Discovery on the next chapter of The CW while re-deploying capital to other content platforms at Paramount.” The chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, Channing Dungey, explained how so many great series were made in the past 16 seasons—from recent hits such as Greg Berlanti’s DC Comics “Arrowverse” to The Vampire Diaries. He revealed that Nexstar would still be allowing the fall premiere of the Supernatural prequel series, The Winchesters.
So, how did The CW get to this point of being acquired from another broadcasting company? The CW had been known for their iconic target demographics of adults ranging from 18-34 years old. While the network had grown since its creation in 2006 when Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios merged the former UPN and The WB Network, the network was never known to be profitable. Rather, these parent companies thrived from exposure deals from their originally scripted shows like Dynasty being bought by Netflix for a $1 billion deal to stream the show.
However, the shift began to change when The CW parent companies decided to pull some of their hit shows from Netflix in order to push their shows on their own exclusive streamers, HBO Max and Paramount+. Although the parent companies had invested more into their own streamers, the lack of revenue from Netflix and foreign sales could no longer support The CW’s business model. So, Warner Bros. and CBS Studios looked to sale options.
The result of looking to sell stakes in The CW resulted in an exhaustive list of shows being cancelled such as DC Comics dramas Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow, Charmed, Dynasty, Legacies, Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark, The 4400, Naomi and, more recently, the Nancy Drew spinoff Tom Swift. This marked the first time in a decade where The CW had to trim its roster in half.
Pedowitz announced the following shows would be renewed for another season, despite the acquisition deal: All American, The Flash, Kung Fu, Nancy Drew, Riverdale, Superman & Lois and Walker. With the recent controversial cancellation of the Batgirl film from one of the parent companies, it seemed that the budget cuts and re-organization strategies have trickled down to the television networks as well. The CW fans can still expect the upcoming series to be released: Gotham Knights, the Supernatural prequel, The Winchesters and the Walker spinoff Independence.