Nexstar's Plan for The CW Includes Targeting Older Viewers, Adding Low-Cost Unscripted Programming

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The CW likely won’t be a hub for broadcast-TV’s teen dramas anymore, following its newly announced acquisition by Nexstar Media Group.

During a conference call on Monday, Nexstar president and chief operating officer Tom Carter shared the company’s strategy for making The CW profitable in the years to come, which will include content that appeals to an older audience than The CW has previously targeted.

“As many of you are aware, The CW is currently the lowest-rated broadcast network, which we believe largely reflects the fact that its programming is targeted for an 18-to-34 audience demographic, while the average age of the CW broadcast viewer is 58 years,” Carter shared. “Over time, we’ll be taking a different approach to our CW programming strategy.” (Though Nexstar’s acquisition of the network won’t close until the third fiscal quarter, the company will take over managing The CW immediately.)

Carter also noted that in the near future, The CW will add more cost-effective unscripted programming and “high-quality syndicated programming” to its lineup, which he indicated is “a departure from the prior predominant focus on expensive, original scripted content, which is uncommon among major broadcast networks.”

As for the fates of current CW originals like All American and Superman & Lois, no updates were given on their futures. Carter confirmed, though, that The CW’s current co-owners — Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, both of which will retain a 12.5 percent minority stake in the network — will continue to produce original scripted content, primarily for the 2022-23 broadcast season. Beyond that, Nexstar will extend its creative partnership with the two companies “if mutually agreeable.”

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