By Daniel S. Levine
While the changes at Warner Bros. Discovery are hogging the spotlight in Hollywood, another takeover is redirecting priorities over at The CW. Earlier this month, Nexstar Media Group completed its 75% acquisition of The CW, with the rest still owned by rivals Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery. Nexstar is taking The CW in a new direction, mixing what the brand is already known for with programs for a different demographic.
Sources recently told Deadline that Nexstar plans to keep genre shows and teen soaps as part of the network lineup. So while The Flash and Riverdale are both ending, shows of their ilk could still be on The CW. However, those will have to sit alongside procedurals and other dramas for an older demo, as well as half-hour comedies. Multi-camera sitcoms might even be on the table.
This isn’t a complete surprise, as Nexstar executives said in the past that they want to change The CW’s target demographic. Nexstar president and COO Tom Carter raised plenty of eyebrows when he said the average CW linear viewer is 58 years old, even though most CW shows are produced for the 18-49 demographic. The CW already began attempts at pleasing older audiences with its Waltons holiday movies. Reality shows like Penn & Teller: Fool Us and World’s Funniest Animals will also remain part of The CW schedules.
Under the Nexstar deal, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery will keep 12.5% interest, each. Before that deal, most CW shows came from Paramount’s CBS Studios and Warner Bros. TV. Nexstar has no reason to do that and is planning to reach out to other studios. The first of these projects is The Hatpin Society from Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Dan Gregor, and Elissa Aaron. The series is about suffragists in 1909 New York City. The network is developing it in-house and is searching for a studio partner, but it doesn’t have to be CBS Studios or WBTV. Longtime CW CEO Mark Pedowitz is keeping his job under Nexstar and is looking to use his connections to work with other studios.
Nexstar is also trying to rein in costs, much like Warner Bros. Discovery. Carter said The CW is spending “almost twice” what other networks do on programming. The CW was previously operating on a loss since Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery made money off programming by selling internationally and to streaming platforms. Carter wants to take a new approach, which would lower costs on unscripted programming and add more syndicated shows.
The CW’s fall season kicks off on Wednesday when DC’s Stargirl Season 3 debuts at 8 p.m. ET. The bulk of the new season won’t start until Oct. 2 though. The season includes the debut of the Walker prequel series Walker Independence on Oct. 6 and the Supernatural prequel The Winchesters on Oct. 11.
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The CW Considering Big Changes in Programming – PopCulture.com
By Daniel S. Levine