Nexstar Media Group, the largest local TV station owner in the United States, is to acquire a majority 75% stake in The CW Network.
US network The CW is home to shows such as Riverdale, The Flash and The Vampire Diaries.
Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount, the current co-owners of the TV network, will each retain a 12.5% stake in The CW and will continue to produce original scripted content for the network.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Doubling down on streaming
Mark Pedowitz will continue to serve as The CW’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with responsibility for day-to-day operations. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
The stake sell-off comes at a time when media giants like Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount are doubling down on their streaming services to offset losses from cord-cutting.
“The CW has delivered signature programming to its broadcast and digital audiences for 16 years,” said George Cheeks, president & chief executive officer of CBS. “This new ownership structure enables us to partner with Nexstar and Warner Bros. Discovery on the next chapter of The CW while re-deploying capital to other content platforms at Paramount.”
Perry Sook, Nexstar’s chairman and chief executive officer, commented: “Our acquisition of The CW is strategically and operationally compelling, as it will enable us to leverage our operational experience to improve the Network’s performance through our management of this powerful national platform. We plan to apply the same strict financial standards to operating The CW as we apply to our other businesses.”
According to Variety, The CW brought in $366 million and $272 million worth of revenue in 2019 and 2020 respectively, making a loss in both years. However, Nexstar’s CFO believes that the network “can bring The CW to profitability by 2025.”