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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Brad Schwartz, Who Helped Discover ‘Schitt’s Creek,‘ Will Oversee CW’s Programming Under New Owner – Yahoo Entertainment

All Brad Schwartz has to do now is find the next version of the types of things he’s discovered in the past: a new “Schitt’s Creek, the next Billy Eichner or the next smart revival of fondly-remembered favorites like “One Day At a Time” or “Degrassi Junior High.”
Easy, right? He will have ample time to seek out such properties as the new president of entertainment for the CW Network, recently placed under the control of Nexstar Media Group, which has ambitions of weaning the network off of the revenue its shows generate from outside streamers and building up a cash flow all its own. Schwartz will start in his new role on November 7, and report to Dennis Miller, president of the overall network.
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“I think I have a reputation for figuring out how to expand a brand and focus a brand, and create breakthrough programming, and do it as efficiently as possible,” Schwartz tells Variety in an interview. “The goal is obviously to be profitable, to create something that creates emotional attachment for people and continues to break through in culture. We just have to do it with lesser resources than everybody else.”
Schwartz has spent a good chunk of his career gaining attention for upstart TV operations that weren’t meant to make a dent in the audience that normally gravitates to larger outlet like NBC, CBS or TNT. At Pop, a cable network built out of the old TV Guide Channel, he helped land programs such as “Flack,” a series starring Anna Paquin that would prove attractive to Showtime and Amazon, or “Nightcap,” a series about the inner workings of late night TV. The network was initially a joint venture of CBS and Lionsgate.
“I certainly have a lot of experience in the young-adult area, but I think the goal is to broaden the network and grow the audience for the network,” says Schwartz. “I think we have to get broader, and bigger.”
Nexstar, the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, acquired a 75% ownership stake in CW in August, with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery, whose predecessors helped launch the network in 2006, retaining minority stakes. Nexstar has vowed to investors that the CW will be profitable by 2025. In past years, the network helped drive profits for its two original owners because its youth-skewing series were in high demand for streamers like Netflix. But its own operations have not been as robust in recent seasons, despite a steady output of programs like “Riverdale,” “All-American” and “The Flash.”
In joining CW, Schwartz is stating a reunion of sorts. Dennis Miller was a co-president of Pop in the network’s early years. “Ever since then, he’s been a good friend and a great mentor. For the past five years, I always stayed very close with him,” says Schwartz, who had been working most recently for a start-up business that he declined to speak about in larger detail.
In a statement, Miller praised Schwartz’ ability “to develop and acquire hits with limited resources,” as well as to “nurture talent, and broaden the appeal of diverse media assets.”
CW can develop its own opportunities in the streaming arena, says Schwartz, who believes the network can broaden the free, ad-supported outlet it has been offering for years. “You look at other broadcast networks, like how Fox has Tubi and CBS has Pluto,” the executive says. “Why can’t we also compete in that free streaming space?”
Before his work with Pop, Schwartz was senior vice president of programming and operations at Fuse, where he helped launch Billy Eichner’s “Billy On The Street.” Prior to Fuse, Schwartz helped run a portfolio of eight music and pop culture networks in Canada, including MTV Canada and MuchMusic, where his team produced “The Hills After Show,” hosted by a young Dan Levy, one of the creative forces behind “Schitt’s Creek.” Schwartz is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who began his career working as an assistant to Lorne Michaels at NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” He can tell you a lot of stories about working there, and his new job will no doubt provide him with more tales to tell.
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