The CW Is For Sale, According to CEO
The CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz has confirmed that the network is being shopped by WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS. After launching 15 years ago, the co-parents of the network are considering a controlling stake sale, according to Deadline. Reportedly, Nexstar Media Group — The CW’s largest affiliate group following its acquisition of Tribune — is among interested buyers.
The news, which was first reported by WSJ, lines up with Discovery’s pending acquisition of WarnerMedia. “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,” Pedowitz wrote in an internal memo to staff. “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.”
However, nothing is set in stone — Pedowitz wrote that “it’s too early to speculate what might happen.” From its very start, The CW has defied the expectations of those who thought it would fold within the first few years. With shows catered toward young adults, The CW's unique co-ownership by two major studios has resulted in high profile entries including Riverdale, Gossip Girl, and the DC Arrowverse series. In 2011, Netflix paid $1 billion to secure the streaming rights to the network’s entire lineup, but WarnerMedia and CBS Studios opted to end that agreement in 2019 in order to steer The CW’s shows onto their own streamers.
It might take a while for any big developments to happen, but until then, Pedowitz shared what The CW has to look forward to this year: “more original programming than ever, this season’s expansion to Saturday night, our growing digital and streaming platforms.”