The CW will launch a two-hour Sunday primetime block for the 2018-19 broadcast season, expanding its linear lineup of original programming from five nights a week to six.
The move represents a vote of confidence in the CW and its business model from parent companies CBS Corp. and Warner Bros., both of whom signed off on it, as well as from affiliates, who will hand a night of programming back to the network.
“We’re very, very happy and very optimistic,” CW president Mark Pedowitz told Variety. “We believe that this is the best thing for the CW and its business model.”
When the CW launched in 2006, it did so with a Sunday programming lineup. But the night proved to be a tough field to compete in for the then-fledgling network, born from the combination of the WB and UPN. In 2008, the network struck a deal with Media Rights Capital, essentially leasing over a five-hour Sunday-night block to the independent producer. That scheme failed, and in 2009 the CW gave Sunday evening back to its affiliates.
Since that time, the television landscape has changed dramatically. Under Pedowitz, who joined in 2011, the CW has shifted its programming strategy, moving from an audience makeup that skewed hard female to a near-even gender balance, and increasing its median age to aid affiliates leading into their evening-news broadcasts. It has also pursued a digital strategy that emphasizes its own platforms, CWTV.com, an ad-supported platform where it stacks recent episodes of its original programs, and CW Seed, a digital venue for short-form content.
(Excerpt) Read More in: Variety