In a rare move for a broadcast TV network, the CW network is expanding its prime-time schedule -- adding Sunday night.
Starting in October, The CW will air prime-time programming on six nights -- Monday through Friday and Sunday. As with other nights for the CW, Sunday night will consist of a two-hour block 8 p.m. ET/PT to 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The CW, a joint venture of CBS Corp. and Warner Bros, got agreements with key affiliate TV station groups, including the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tribune Media, CBS Television Stations and Nexstar Media Group, to make the expansion.
Analysts say that a major factor in affiliate groups agreeing to let the CW expand is to bolster its case in seeking future higher retransmission fees from pay TV providers.
Helping this mission, The CW has gained solid ground with its young-skewing programming.
“It speaks to the amount of quality content the CW feels they have to roll out another night,” says Brad Adgate, media consultant and veteran media agency/TV research executive. He also says: “I guess syndication will lose some prime time slots with this..Sunday is a night of higher TV usage than Saturday which has no original scripted shows anymore.”
The CW launched in 2006 as a six-night-a-week network -- Monday through Friday and Sunday. But in 2009, it gave back Sunday night to TV stations affiliates.
In the last six years, the network shifted from targeting mostly women 18-34 to also including young men.
Season to-date ratings for The CW has seen a 3% gain to a Nielsen 1.8 million prime-time viewers, looking at the live-program plus seven time-shifted viewing numbers. Its demographic numbers -- a 0.5 rating in the 18-34 demo and a 0.6 rating in the 18-49 demo -- are flat versus the same results a year ago.