With Future Under New Owner Uncertain, CW's Show Goes On

Heaven knows what The CW will look like in the months and years to come following the network’s sale to Nexstar Media Group.

The completion of the deal was announced just last week on October 3.

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Nexstar is the largest single owner of local TV stations in the U.S. Perry Sook is the company’s founder, chairman and CEO.

The Nexstar web site says the company owns 200 stations (including partner stations) in 116 U.S. television markets (out of 210 DMAs qualified by Nielsen). The stations cover 68% of the U.S., says Nexstar.

Nexstar also owns a couple of diginets -- AntennaTV and RewindTV -- (both repositories of old TV shows). Two years ago, the company launched the news channel called NewsNation, which replaced WGN America on many cable systems.



In the deal announced last week, Nexstar bought 75% of The CW from co-owners Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery (each of which retain a 12.5% stake).

Commensurate with the close of the deal, Mark Pedowitz -- who was chairman and CEO of The CW for 11 years -- was replaced and left the company.

His replacement is Dennis Miller, a TV and production company executive who was a member of the Nexstar board since 2014.

“Throughout his tenure, Mr. Pedowitz was instrumental in charting the expansion of The CW and bringing some of the most groundbreaking and generation-defining programming in television to millions of viewers,” said the press release issued by Nexstar last week.

Pedowitz was the face of The CW every spring at the network’s upfront in New York. It is probably accurate to say that he had a great deal to do with the overall high quality of much of The CW’s content.

No network bats 1.000, but the TV Blog has remarked often that the bulk of the shows on The CW are consistently well done.

The new shows premiering this fall on The CW were developed by Pedowitz and his team -- including two new ones premiering Tuesday night.

True to form, the two are worthy additions to the CW lineup. One is “The Winchesters” (photo, above left) about two young people (probably twenty-somethings) who meet cute in the premiere and then suddenly embark on a mission to battle and exorcise various demons from their community in the hopes of finding relatives who have gone missing.

If it sounds absurd, then that is because it is absurd. But as an adventure show aimed at teens and young adults, the show works just fine.

The series is descended from “Supernatural,” which was about two brothers named Winchester who also hunted baddies from the netherworld and other evil entities. 

“Supernatural” ran for a supernatural 15 seasons and became the most popular show in the history of The CW. It was only natural that a replacement series would show up eventually to take on the same subject.

Following “The Winchesters” in the 9-10 p.m. Eastern slot Tuesday night is “Professionals” (with no “the”). 

This one is about international intrigue in the not-too-distant future. The professionals in the title refer to a group of characters, but the one who rises above the rest is a swashbuckling expert in espionage, counter-espionage and the detective work necessary to investigate them both.

In the series pilot, he meets a wealthy, high-tech industrialist who seeks his help to find out who sabotaged a rocket his company launched that blew up moments after takeoff.

The rich guy is played by Brendan Fraser (photo, above right), and he is the best part of the show -- funny, likable and eccentric.

Are these kinds of shows due to be a thing of the past under the CW’s new ownership?

According to various news stories, The CW -- formed in 2006 -- has never been profitable. It is doubtful that Nexstar bought the network to lose money on it. 

“The Winchesters” and “Professionals” both premiere Tuesday (October 11) at 8 p.m. Eastern and 9 p.m. Eastern, respectively, on The CW.

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