Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount have sold a 75% interest of The CW network to Nexstar; the two existing owners will each keep 12.5% of the broadcast network. Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount will continue to produce original, scripted content for the channel as well.
Mark Pedowitz will continue to serve as The CW’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with responsibility for day-to-day operations. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
Perry Sook, Nexstar’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Our acquisition of The CW is strategically and operationally compelling, as it will enable us to leverage our operational experience to improve the Network’s performance through our management of this powerful national platform. We plan to apply the same strict financial standards to operating The CW as we apply to our other businesses.”
Nexstar reportedly won’t pay anything for the stake, but instead will cover the network’s $100 million in annual losses. While Paramount and Warner Bros. will continue to create shows for The CW, it is expected that Nexstar will acquire additional content for the channel.
Nexstar, who already is the largest owner of local CW affiliates in the country, could try to keep The CW as the same youth-focused network it has been, or the new owners could attempt to revamp its programming entirely, as Disney did when it purchased the former CBN/Family Channel and eventually changed it into Freeform. Given that The CW has already announced its upcoming fall schedule, no changes are expected until at least the 2023 fall season.
Earlier reports suggest that there is an appetite to move the programming on The CW to skew older, to match the viewers of Nexstar’s affiliates.
Last March, WGN America, which was acquired by Nexstar in 2020, was relaunched as NewsNation. The new name of the channel matches that of its popular news program. Over the last year, the channel has shifted to become a national news network with five hours of weeknight news programming.