8 CBS Stations Are Dropping The CW Network and Going Independent This Fall
Nexstar acquired majority control of The CW from Warner Bros. Discovery in November 2022. Now eight prominent affiliates plan to sever their ties with The CW and become independent stations effective September 1st, 2023.
The CBS stations in Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Tampa, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa have all confirmed their decision to drop The CW and operate independently from the date mentioned above.
“We look forward to reimagining these stations as independents while leveraging the considerable value of their prime-time real estate in each of the markets,” said Wendy McMahon, President and Co-Head of CBS News and Stations. “It’s an exciting time to look at new opportunities to add local programming, including live sports, and shows from across the Paramount Global brands. We are also grateful to have been part of The CW for 17 memorable years and wish our partners at Nexstar continued success.”
Whether other television stations in these markets will take on The CW remains unclear. However, given the substantial notice provided, it is highly probable that a new affiliate of The CW, potentially owned by Nexstar, will take over in these regions.
This development comes as Nexstar aims to make The CW network profitable by 2025, and part of its strategy involves reducing its emphasis on scripted dramas aimed at younger audiences. Instead, Nexstar plans to shift its focus to news, sports, and reality TV programming.
The CW recently made a deal to air LIV Gold on weekend afternoons, and Nexstar has stated it’s exploring other options for additional live sports on the network. This national sports deal would bring 14 league events to The CW, a first for the network.
According to reports, the agreement between The CW and LIV Golf is based on a revenue-sharing model. This implies that LIV Golf may not receive a significant upfront payment to secure the contract but would instead receive a portion of any profits generated from The CW. This arrangement is considered more favorable than the previous proposal involving FS1 and FS2, which would have required the LIV Golf group to pay Fox Sports for broadcasting its content.
Following the acquisition by Nexstar, the fate of The CW remains uncertain. Numerous scripted dramas have already been canceled, and while certain high-profile reboots, such as the planned revival of Babylon 5, have yet to be officially axed, their future remains in doubt.