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The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

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The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Old 01-06-22, 06:52 AM
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The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

The CW may get a new majority owner. Fifteen years after the broadcast network’s launch, its co-parents, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia, are considering a controlling stake sale, sources confirm to Deadline. Nexstar Media Group, which is the CW’s largest affiliate group following its acquisition of Tribune, is believed to be among interested buyers. Sources caution that conversations with multiple suitors are in exploratory stages and no deal is imminent.

The potential sale, first reported by the WSJ, comes amid an ownership change for WarnerMedia, which is being acquired by Discovery, pending regulatory approval. None of the architects of the CW, which replaced the WB and UPN in 2006, are still around, most notably former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who was the driving force behind it. Since the CW’s creation, CBS merged with Viacom while WarnerMedia was acquired by AT&T which is now selling it to Discovery.

The CW, which caters to young adults, has defied expectations getting to 15 years when many had predicted that it would fold or move to cable/digital early in its run. The network’s business model has worked because of its unique setup, being co-owned by two major studios that supply all of its scripted programming. While the CW has never been profitable as a standalone entity, it has created value for its studio parents, providing U.S. broadcast distribution for shows that they can then exploit internationally and on streaming. Among valuable assets the CW has helped create for its studio partners include the Arrowverse series, Riverdale, All American and Gossip Girl (Warner Bros.) and Walker, Dynasty and Jane the Virgin (CBS Studios)

That is hard to replicate, which is why I hear the most likely scenario would be for WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS to sell a majority stake in the CW while retaining minority ownership and remaining suppliers. The current CW model makes it unfeasible for outside studios to produce shows for the network; it would be interesting to see if a new majority owner would change the terms so other studios can supply the network alongside Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios.

For the past decade, the CW has been run by Chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz who took the then-female-skewing network and broadened its appeal and balanced its audience with shows like the DC dramas and Riverdale while also forging a digital path for the brand.

The CW received a major shot in the arm in 2011 when Netflix paid $1 billion for the streaming rights of the network’s entire lineup. A number of CW shows remain on Netflix, brining in fees, but in 2019 WarnerMedia and CBS Studios opted to end the agreement and instead steer the series they produce for the CW to their own streamers. (In the early going, all CW shows were steered to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which emerged as the streaming destination for the CW content.)

The end of the Netflix deal gave the CW in-season stacking rights to their shows, which has been key to the network growing its digital footprint. An early adopter of streaming, the CW has a formidable digital operation and outsized social media reach, which could be attractive to buyers, which could potentially include streamers, I hear.

A Nexstar deal would bring the CW in line with the other broadcast networks, following the traditional model of a network controlling its main affiliate stations. It would eliminate the stress over the network’s future every time the contracts with the major CW affiliate groups are up for renewal.
https://deadline.com/2022/01/the-cw-...ar-1234905157/
Old 01-06-22, 10:16 AM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

No Netflix deal = every show created after May 2019 is a loser for WB/CBS. Right now, the bulk are being sold to HBO Max (I think Paramount+ has/had Nancy Drew?), but no international sales must make some of these shows unprofitable, unlike crap like Riverdale which gets the Netflix deal $.

Pretty interesting, especially with their expansion on SATURDAYS. Looks almost like they want to sell the broadcast back to the affiliates, and "sell" their shows to the network, like Sony would to ABC.

I fully expect this to be done by the time upfront comes out. But who the hell wants a broadcast network?
Old 01-06-22, 01:03 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Nancy Drew is on HBO Max. If WB gets a bigger stake maybe CW shows will reliably get on HBO Max. It really bugs me that, for example, Superman & Lois and Nancy Drew are not simulcast on HBO Max, but rather only appear there months after the broadcast season is over.
Old 01-06-22, 02:27 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Originally Posted by randian View Post
Nancy Drew is on HBO Max. If WB gets a bigger stake maybe CW shows will reliably get on HBO Max. It really bugs me that, for example, Superman & Lois and Nancy Drew are not simulcast on HBO Max, but rather only appear there months after the broadcast season is over.
I don't think anything is simulcast on HBO Max at all from the networks, only the actual HBO stuff. Things like snowpiercer have that same delay. And Superman and Lois had this weird deal where they put up half the season early (like right after it aired) then I think they removed it. The only exception I can remember is something like Stargirl which was basically DC Universe first then at the last minute was put on the CW.

Bottom line is they still want people watching on broadcast tv.
Old 01-06-22, 03:55 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

If The CW gets sold, it might allow more flexibility for them to acquire more programs outside CBS and WB. Pretty much everything on their network is produced by CBS and or WB. Content creators based at Sony, Lionsgate, Universal, FOX TV basically get the shaft.
Old 01-06-22, 05:41 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

The CW has gone downhill in my opinion over the last many years.

Practically the only show in their entire line-up that I watch is Superman & Lois and even that is questionable as to whether I'll finish out the upcoming season.... Yet I use to watch nearly their entire line-up many years back with Supernatural, The 100, and the entire Arrowverse. The former two ended and the Arrowverse has just crapped itself as the original writers seemed to have left and they don't know what to do with it. Anything that possibly shakes things up and breathes some fresh air to the network would be a welcome change.
Old 01-06-22, 06:06 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Anything Berlanti touches turns to shit.
Old 01-06-22, 09:32 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
If The CW gets sold, it might allow more flexibility for them to acquire more programs outside CBS and WB. Pretty much everything on their network is produced by CBS and or WB. Content creators based at Sony, Lionsgate, Universal, FOX TV basically get the shaft.
I think the last show on CW that was not WB/CBS was Reaper....and that was a very long time ago
Old 01-06-22, 09:48 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

I haven't watched anything on the network since One Tree Hill ended. I stopped watching Supernatural after season 5 but maybe I'll watch the rest of the series at some point.
Old 01-07-22, 06:47 AM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

I know this isn't the point of this thread, but Discovery is buying Warner?!? I thought I heard they were gonna merge, but never would have guessed Discovery was big enough to buy Warner.
Old 01-07-22, 07:19 AM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Originally Posted by joltman View Post
I know this isn't the point of this thread, but Discovery is buying Warner?!? I thought I heard they were gonna merge, but never would have guessed Discovery was big enough to buy Warner.
It is a merger.
https://about.att.com/story/2021/war...discovery.html
https://forum.dvdtalk.com/tv-talk/65...ry-merger.html

Last edited by dex14; 01-07-22 at 07:30 AM.
Old 01-07-22, 11:51 AM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Originally Posted by joltman View Post
I know this isn't the point of this thread, but Discovery is buying Warner?!? I thought I heard they were gonna merge, but never would have guessed Discovery was big enough to buy Warner.
Everything is merging at this point. How these are not monopolies is beyond me.
Old 01-07-22, 01:38 PM
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Re: The CW Majority Stake Sale Explored By WarnerMedia & ViacomCBS

Originally Posted by joltman View Post
I know this isn't the point of this thread, but Discovery is buying Warner?!? I thought I heard they were gonna merge, but never would have guessed Discovery was big enough to buy Warner.
It's technically a merger with Discovery executives in charge because corporate types don't trust the Warner executives will do anything but burn money and possibly run Discovery into the ground.

The CW news isn't entirely surprising. Lots of people wondered how their economics were viable once the Netflix deal ended. Because of streaming, the international syndication market has changed a great deal in only 2-3 years. Broadcast is a business fewer and fewer companies want these days.

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