UPDATE: CW CEO Mark Pedowitz has confirmed the news.
To Our Valued CW Team
I am sure you have seen the recent speculation in the press around The CW, so I wanted to take the opportunity to address this with you directly and share with you what we know.
First, as many of you are aware, over the past year or so, this transformative time in our industry has led to a series of business activity across media and content companies. Given that environment right now, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros. are exploring strategic opportunities to optimize the value of their joint venture in The CW Network.
It’s too early to speculate what might happen, but we promise to keep you updated as we learn more.
So, what does this mean for us right now? It means we must continue to do what we do best, make The CW as successful and vibrant as we have always done. We have a lot of work ahead of us – with more original programming than ever, this season’s expansion to Saturday night, our growing digital and streaming platforms – and we thrive when we come together and build The CW together.
Original story follows.
It appears that The CW may be closing in on finding a new owner.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia are looking at a possible sale of a significant stake or all of the CW Network. Reportedly, the leading choice of buyers is Nexstar Media Group Inc. which currently operates 199 local TV affiliates, the majority of which are part of The CW.
According to the reports, there are multiple suitors for the purchase, but the discussions with Nexstar are the most advanced. Should Nexstar be the winner of the sale, it would more than likely move forward with being the majority order and ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia retaining minority stakes in the project. Both studios would commit, as well, to being the primary content producers for the network.
ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia have been partners in The CW since it was the result of merging UPN and The WB Network in 2006. Both companies produce series for the network with WarnerMedia being responsible for the most popular series on the network in Riverdale, and ViacomCBS producing series such as Walker. Both networks have found making the network profitable an issue, but have found the content is quite lucrative on the secondary market when they sell the streaming rights.
According to the report, in the case of WarnerMedia, any future series it would produce for The CW would be funneled to HBO Max for secondary transmission. This is a solution already underway with series such as Nancy Drew and Batwoman ending up there.
The most surprising part of this report is the timing. With the WarnerDiscovery merger on the horizon, it seems like an odd time to sell off an outlet for your intellectual properties. This does make us wonder if the true focus going forward will be on streaming as many pundits assume it will be.
Both ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia have been declining to comment on the potential deal to any inquiries.