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CW's 12th Season Poised to Outlive Its Predecessors -- How Long Will It Go After?



Written Reading Between Mark Pedowitz' Lines by Bridger Cunningham

Deadline.com reported CW president Mark Pedowitz's statements at the TCA Press Tour, noting he was "unusually reflective."  CW is slated to have outlasted its predecessors, UPN and WB, on Friday, May 18, 2008.  Both networks launched in January 1995, dissolving by September 15, 2006.  Pedowitz's remarks left much for interpretation:

“I have had more fun than I’ve ever had in my entire life,” 

“You have your normal business frustrations, but this particular job for me exorcised a lot of demons in my own system. I’m proud of what we did for the CW in terms of transitioning the perception. When I came out here at the beginning, most of the questions were, ‘Are you still going to be in business’. Today, this is a healthy, strong creative platform that seeks quality material and will continue to do so. I have a sense of pride, joy, reflection, and I feel like I’m at my own memorial.”

“All I can tell you, for many years, they’ve said that broadcast is dead. Broadcast is far from dead. Cable is going through contraction. Viacom said they are doing it, Discovery too. There will be contraction but there is one thing I’m confident about — the CW is going to be around for a hell of a long time.”

Is this simple nostalgia, or is Pedowitz foreshadowing changes and/or closure?  Readers can speculate, but regardless, this season guarantees CW will outlive UPN and CW.  The network is pressing forward with new pilot developments, heavily marketing Valor and Dynasty.  And a broadcast/streaming agreement with Netflix paints a picture of a network looking to the future vs. targeting an end.

History tells viewers CW is nowhere near the levels of decline UPN and WB exhibited before they shuttered.  CW debuted in 2006 and has experienced continual ratings declines.  Yet so have broadcast and cable networks affected by alternative platforms and the 2007-08 WGA Strike.  2014-15 exhibited considerable growth hinging on the debut of The Flash.  Ratings have trickled downward since, yet the network still has signature hits to feather its cap.  Arrow and Supernatural deliver, and Supergirl performs above average.  That is 40-percent of the network's in-season shelf space.

UPN and WB hit their zeniths in the late 90's and declined between 2002-03.  Save for UPN's America's Next Top Model, few hits emerged.  And their anemic averages were low prior to the programming/ratings shift of 2006-07.  Their last three years ailed due to defecting shows, as CW has yet to experience an exodus which devastates the lineup.  The fifth network still claims 3rd or 4th Place in various timeslots and opened the door to the next generation of viewing.  The consensus is do not read too far into Pedowitz's vague remarks, as it is not fun to live worrying a beloved network will fold.  Instead, enjoy the shows which perk interest.

Tune in to the daily ratings reports this fall, track the results and judge for yourself if CW has longevitity.