Fans of The CW and its live-action superhero franchise Arrowverse woke up to unfortunate news today, as the media reported that respective parent companies WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS are looking at options to sell off the network.
The CW was originally conceived through a merger of The WB and UPN channels in 2006. From an outside perspective, the company has had a relatively successful run over the past fifteen years, developing popular shows like Supernatural and Riverdale, not to mention Arrow, which brought the green-hooded vigilante of Star City to live-action and opened the way for many other DC superheroes and characters to make their debuts in shows like The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and the latest Batgirl and Superman & Lois.
Based on a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, though, The CW has “never been profitable since its formation in 2006.” In fact, most of the revenue has mostly been nonlinear all these years, through contracts with international broadcasters or other streaming services like Netflix. And now that WarnerMedia’s contract with the eponymous streaming juggernaut has expired, the company is going through a rough patch.
So far, representatives for WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS have declined to comment on the situation, but CW boss Mark Pedowitz has just sent a memo to staff to address the matter, as can be seen below.
To Our Valued CW Team
I am sure you have seen the recent speculation in the press around The CW, so I wanted to take the opportunity to address this with you directly and share with you what we know.
First, 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. 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.
It’s too early to speculate what might happen, but we promise to keep you updated as we learn more.
So, what does this mean for us right now? It means we must continue to do what we do best, make The CW as successful and vibrant as we have always done. We have a lot of work ahead of us – with more original programming than ever, this season’s expansion to Saturday night, our growing digital and streaming platforms – and we thrive when we come together and build The CW together.
It’s certainly an encouraging statement, one that’ll hopefully stifle panic to some degree amongst the staff, but I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see what becomes of The CW when the two parent companies are ready to announce their decision.