It was a dark week at The CW as the network shuttered several of its original scripted series. Deadline reports the up-for-sale network said goodbye to fan staples including The Vampire Diaries spinoff Legacies, freshman DC comic series Naomi, the sci-fi drama reboot of 4400, the millennial reboot of Charmed, and mystery drama, In the Dark. This announcement comes just weeks after Batwoman and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow were also given the boot.
According to Deadline, the massive sweep is due to operational changes at the head of the channel. Originally bolstered as a collaboration between Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios, the CW’s focus was meant to launch shows to perform best on streaming platforms and in international markets. As the network itself may not have drawn the best ratings – or profits – the separate studios found success in their shows’ ability to catch an audience on Netflix and other streaming fronts. This is evident in the success of shows like Riverdale and All American after their initial season aired on linear television.
However, with the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, the focus has shifted to remaining financially sound across all platforms, via Deadline. And the network in its current state is not profitable. In addition to the merger, Warner Bros. and CBS’ streaming deal with Netflix ended in 2019, leaving the streaming profits shifting to the studios’ own niche streaming platforms. In contrast, this occurrence allows the CW to pump more money into all its series other than the previously mentioned Riverdale and All American, and the stalwart of the Arrowverse, The Flash.
The network shakeup could also mean a change in airing schedules, via Deadline. In recent years, the network established a block of primetime content for Friday and Saturday, having original series airing seven days a week. It now seems shows such as Nancy Drew, renewed for its fourth season, may transition to a four-day schedule. No telling what content may replace the pockets on the weekends.
With the cancellations, the future of the CW looks very different. Just last year Deadline reports the network optioned 19 series to its 2021-2022 season. Now that number is a mere 11 for this year. Despite the loss, some new series were announced including the Supernatural prequel, The Winchesters, the DC comics-inspired Gotham Knights, and Walker: Independence.