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Superhero Shows “Had Their Time” as New CW Leaders Outline Plans to Make Network “Bigger and Profitable”

The CW’s new regime outlined its proposal to reinvent the network beyond its previous slate of DC Comics-inspired superhero shows in an effort to make the now Nexstar-controlled broadcaster profitable by 2025.


Former Pop TV president Brad Schwartz, now president of entertainment at The CW, and network president Dennis Miller (no, no that one) spoke to reporters about Nexstar’s first fall show for the younger former network on Thursday, sharing details of how they plan to use foreign acquisitions, unscripted series and LIV golf to expand the network to new, returning and repeat viewers.


“We are excited that The CW is now in the hands of Nexstar, a company with more free cash flow than Paramount, almost as much free cash flow as Fox,” Schwartz told reporters from a podium in New York, where he met The press (and those via Zoom) questioned the executive about the network’s drastic makeover. “The CW is now run by stations whose sole objective is to build a strong brand and cultivate an emotional bond with the largest possible audience. Broadcasting is its main activity. Our goal is to do what’s best for viewers, stations, and advertisers. The CW will no longer be built for the benefit of two content studios.”


The latest dig was directed at CBS Studios and Warner Bros. Television, the former co-owners of The CW, who now each retain a 12.5 percent stake in what’s left of the network they built to profit from sales at the abroad and streaming of the originals. that populated it


The Nexstar group of stations took full control of The CW late last year, ousting CEO Mark Pedowitz and his senior executive team, and shifting to a model that expects the network to be profitable by 2025.


As part of the changes, Miller and Schwartz canceled all but two of The CW’s local originals: all american (in fall time) and Walker (half season) — with three more — Superman and Lois, Knights of Gotham and All American: Homecoming — pending decisions on its future. That came after a particularly brutal initial season last year in which The CW canceled nearly half the roster that Pedowitz and company spent years cultivating for a network that was only designed to be profitable for its owners and not as a independent station.


Asked specifically about the future of superman and lois – one of two remaining DC Comics shows to remain in the bubble – Schwartz said the business model no longer worked for Nexstar’s vision for the network.


“They were the hallmarks of The CW for a long time. As we look forward and try to make this network bigger and more profitable, frankly, as much as we all love those shows and they’ve had their time, they’re not working linearly,” Schwartz said.


Instead, The CW has aligned its fall schedule with shows that have already aired abroad, a canceled cable show (AMC’s 61st street) and a rejected reality show (HBO Max’s fboy island). The model, Miller and Schwartz explained, was to make shows that maximized revenue for The CW. decisions about Gotham Knights, Superman and Lois and Homecoming They are expected to arrive “soon” as Schwartz said he talks to producers at Warner Bros. TV weekly about them. At the same time, all three are more expensive than most imported shows like Sullivan’s crossing which Schwartz repeatedly promoted during his hour-long kickoff performance on Thursday.


Under Pedowitz, The CW targeted viewers 18-34 with fare like riverdale and nancy drew. Under Nexstar, Schwartz and Miller plan to target older viewers in the adult 18-49 demographic coveted by advertisers, but vowed not to turn their backs on the audience that pre-quoted the broadcaster’s content.


“The young adult audience is not making an appointment with today’s broadcast,” Miller said, noting that it was a “great strategy” that has now evolved as the demo now includes homegrown originals at higher price points. tall as Euphoria, stranger things and Wednesday. “That audience has left the broadcast, hence the opportunity we have to expand the audience.”


asked by the hollywood reporter if they expect lower-cost foreign acquisitions to qualify after Pedowitz previously used them as schedule fillers, Miller argued that those shows starring Patrick Dempsey and Brendan Fraser were neither marketed nor prioritized.


“For us, we’ve found acquisitions that could be great shows,” said Schwartz, who as president of Pop TV brought Schitt’s Cove to the American public. “I don’t think ‘acquisition’ is a dirty word. Sullivan’s crossing It costs as much as any other licensed program. We think these are huge and successful programs. For me, it doesn’t matter who does the show. The question is: will people watch?


“I don’t differentiate local products from acquisitions,” he continued. “We have chosen programs that we believe have a chance to do well. Sullivan’s crossing could be bigger than anything on The CW last year, fboy island it could be bigger than anything on The CW last year. flea bag It’s an acquisition Bodyguard It’s an acquisition squid game They come from other parts of the world. Every show we acquire, we make a deal to be creatively involved in the future. We want to be co-producers; we want our shows to be in the awards conversation.”


While The CW has rights to seasons that have already been produced, Schwartz opened the door to doing additional seasons as co-producers with other studios. But first, the goal is to expand the network beyond its current younger demo.


“We have to pick shows if we think they can grow, be profitable, have great audience retention and we can market other shows,” he said when asked about the current lack of superhero programming on the network.


As decisions on the two DC Comics shows hang in the balance, Schwartz called them “expensive” and noted that they weren’t directly profitable for The CW (although they are for Warner). “We don’t have the rights to the previous seasons” of the three bubble shows, Schwartz said, noting that Nexstar “spent millions” on the launch. superman and lois and Gotham Knights. “It was frustrating for us because you can’t tell people to catch up. superman and lois and it’s on HBO Max and it’s the 30th priority there,” he said. “It’s tough. If you want to be in business on a show and connect that show with audiences everywhere, you need to have the entire library.”


Looking ahead, Schwartz outlined a line of acquisitions and unscripted originals, as well as scripted fare as Sophie Turner in the co-produced, Joannagerman import the swarmand a spin-off of the old TNT drama the librarians, which he hoped could be the chain’s next franchise. (Read more about Schwartz’s scripted strategy here.)


“We have to be entrepreneurial in the way we view content,” he said. “We can’t write a check for $10 million per episode for a show with dragons. We have to build efficiently with co-productions and we are finding acquisitions that we can turn into co-productions.”


Schwartz also vowed that The CW won’t back away from golf LIV as the network did last weekend during a crucial playoff that aired after a two-hour rain delay, as he hoped the addition of sports would bring in new viewers. to the chain


“The CW brand has such a passionate connection with a certain small audience, and we will try to hold on to them. But we have to get bigger and broader,” he said, noting that the process starts with adding new viewers, getting them to stay tuned to the network longer and return more often. “As great as The CW always was, it didn’t have a lot of new people and just talked to the same people over and over again. LIV Golf is bringing new people to The CW with a new audience, and we’re focused on the 18-49 show and want to expand to older than that.”

Disclaimer: Lesley Goldberg is married to gotham knights co-creator Natalie Abrams.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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