The CW on Thursday unveiled a new lineup for next season consisting mostly of series that have already gained audience footholds in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
The lineup represents a substantial content makeover for the network under its new majority owner, Nexstar Media Group.
The new CW content roster announced Thursday was the first to be presented by Nexstar since the company acquired a 75% controlling interest in the network last October.
Formerly owned jointly by CBS and Time Warner, the CW has long been a participant in the Upfront sales season.
This spring, new owner Nexstar is bringing the CW along with myriad broadcast and digital platforms to the Upfront market.
Irving, Texas-based Nexstar is the nation’s largest owner/operator of local TV stations. Specifically, the company “owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 200 broadcast stations (including partner stations) in 116 markets or more than 68% of all U.S. television households, including 120 local websites and 239 local news and weather apps,” the company’s website says.
Other Nexstar brands include NewsNation, The Hill, diginets Antenna TV and Rewind TV, and WGN Radio in Chicago. Thirty-seven of the company’s owned stations are CW affiliates.
“We’ve been huddling for the last couple of months here to put this package of [network, broadcast and digital] assets out there,” said CW President Dennis Miller at a presentation for the press Thursday at the Park Lane.
“We’re very confident going into the market, now that advertisers are seeing the schedule, which we think has broader appeal than we have in the past,” Miller said.
“We’re pretty excited about what they’re going to see,” he said. “There’s a whole set of advertisers we haven’t gone out to … because the CW was defined rather narrowly, so we’re reaching out to another 30, 40 national advertisers.
“And from our presentations a few weeks ago here in New York City with all the key buyers, we feel like we’re in a really good place to capture more than our share, and punch above our weight,” Miller said.
The CW fall slate seems ready to go, despite the Writers Guild strike that has halted the production of scripted TV shows in the U.S. since May 2.
The looming strike was one reason that CW and its new owners adopted a strategy of “combing” the world for shows to acquire that already had a season or two of episodes available, said CW President of Entertainment Brad Schwartz (pictured above).
There was also the issue of expediency. Schwartz joined the company just last November, shortly after Nexstar took control of the CW.
This meant that the company had a very short window in which to assemble a fall schedule in time for Upfront season.
“We knew that we had about eight months until the fall schedule was coming and that a lot of the old CW stuff wasn’t going to be coming back, so we had to move quickly,” Schwartz said.
“We had to comb the world,” he said. “Finding some really strong acquisitions to help fill the development schedule was important.”
Indeed, the Monday-through-Sunday fall lineup announced on Thursday has only one returning scripted show, the football drama “All American,” coming back for its sixth season to Monday nights.
“All American” will be paired that evening with the Chicago cop drama “61st Street,” starring Courtney B. Vance. The show’s first season premiered in April 2022 on AMC+.
Tuesday nights will bring four comedies that are new to the CW: “Son Of A Critch” (Canadian), “Run the Burbs” (also from Canada), “Children Ruin Everything” (Canada) and “Everyone Else Burns” (U.K.).
The Tuesday lineup has two, one-hour dramas. The first is a heartfelt, homecoming drama called “Sullivan’s Crossing,” starring Morgan Kohan, Chad Michael Murray from “One Tree Hill” and Scott Patterson (“Gilmore Girls”). “Sullivan’s Crossing” premiered this past March in Canada.
The second is a lighthearted mystery series. “The Spencer Sisters,” starring Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber. The show premiered last January in Canada.
If the TV Blog may be permitted to insert an opinion here: In clips shown at the press event, all these shows looked great. They seem like quality shows.
“I don’t think acquisition is a bad word,” Schwartz said. “These aren’t cheap acquisitions.”
“We think these are huge hit shows. And to me it doesn’t matter [who] makes a show. What matters to me is, is it good? And do I think a lot of people will watch it? We’re very, very proud of these shows. I don’t differentiate a homegrown show from an acquisition show,” he said.
Only one unscripted show on the CW schedule falls into the “acquisition” category. It is a dating show called “FBoy Island,” seen originally on HBO Max. Two back-to-back episodes are slated for Thursday nights.
Since unscripted shows are not affected by the Writers Guild strike, CW’s unscripted slate is returning largely intact -- including Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” “Masters of Illusion” and “World’s Funniest Animals.”