When one thinks of “The CW,” it conjures images of mid-budget superhero action, soapy teen scandal, and whatever fresh hell is going on over at Riverdale (we say affectionately). But that vision of the network is becoming a thing of the past, as Nexstar Media Group has plans to take the CW in a different direction.
As previously reported, Nexstar’s opening gambit was to announce that actually, the average CW viewer is 58 years old–not the young person that it has been catering to all this time. Unsurprisingly, Deadline now reports that the goal to make the famously broke network profitable involves catering to the older audience.
It’s not an out-and-out goodbye to the programming the CW does best (or at least most), but expect “not as many” genre shows and teen soaps moving forward. Meanwhile, the network will broaden its scope by “adding procedurals and other older-skewing dramas as well as half-hour comedies including multi-camera sitcoms.”
According to Deadline’s sources, Nexstar’s message to the creative community while buying new programming is, “bring us what you would’ve brought to the CW before but also bring us what you wouldn’t have brought to us in the past,” which is pretty much as wide of a net as can possibly be cast.
In defense of the old CW, the network took some interesting and ultimately successful swings with critically acclaimed series like Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so it was already a place where other kinds of shows could exist. And speaking of CXGF, creator Rachel Bloom is executive producing a period drama from Elissa Aron, The Hatpin Society, about suffragist vigilantes in 1909 New York. It was sold directly to the network and is being held up as an example of the new CW’s “broadened” future.
Nexstar’s strategy for the future also involves exploring a world beyond its former co-owners Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, which now each own a 12.5% stake in the network. While that partnership remains in place for the coming season, the situation is “in flux” and executives are reportedly open to “outside suppliers.” But if the CW isn’t receiving its programming from CBS Studios and WBTV, is it even “the CW”? The letters literally stand for “CBS” and “Warner”!
All in all, the CW isn’t yet over (Deadline reports no changes to the unscripted lineup), but the planned shift in demographic focus and possible move away from its parent companies probably indicates a slow death to the network as we know it. It’s the beginning of the end, people. Kiss your Arrowverse and beautiful 20-somethings playing high schoolers goodbye.