CW Restructures Programming, Marketing

Mar 3, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The CW is restructuring its programming and marketing operations, resulting in the elimination of the network’s comedy development group as a standalone operation and the loss of a “small percentage” of jobs at the network.
The fifth-ranked English-language broadcast network said in a statement that it is combining its current and drama development departments into one unit. Kim Fleary, executive VP of comedy development, will leave the CW when her deal expires this summer, a person familiar with the situation said.
Alternative programming, which includes series such as “America’s Next Top Model” and “Beauty and the Geek,” will remain a separate department for the network.
In the marketing department, some operations that had been under CW Plus will fall under CW Marketing.
The changes were prompted by the Writers Guild of America strike, which forced the network to examine how it did business, according to the source at the network.
Insiders at the CW said the network is not withdrawing from comedy programming. Rather, the new division will give the outlet more flexibility to develop its brand under one roof, something the network felt was necessary after the writers strike.
Earlier today, the network announced that “Everybody Hates Chris” had been renewed for a fourth season.
Meanwhile, the outlet’s marketing department also will see changes with “certain operations” that once fell under the umbrella of CW Plus, will now be run by the CW marketing department.
Currently, Sunday night is home to the network’s comedies, with “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Aliens in America,” “The Game” and “Girlfriends.”
“Chris” has performed the best of the Sunday sitcoms, according to the latest numbers, with a 0.9 household rating season average and a 0.4 average in the CW’s key 18- to 34-year-old demographic.
“Aliens” has scored a 0.4 in the 18-34 demo, but a 0.7 in the household average ratings.
“Girlfriends,” which will not be returning next year, pulled in a 0.3 average in the 18-34 age group. “The Game” tied that.
The CW has tinkered with its Sunday night lineup this season. “Online Nation” became the first casualty of the 2007-08 season after audiences didn’t buy in, and the network recently canceled “Life Is Wild.”
Sunday has been one of the worst performing nights of the week for the network, compared to Tuesday and Wednesday lineups. Those weeknights are bolstered by programs that perform strongly in the 18-34 demographic, including “America’s Next Top Model” and “One Tree Hill,” which has a 2.6 average among women 18-34.
The company’s moves mark the second restructuring in the past six months for The CW. In October, the network effectively pulled out of the Saturday morning kids programming business in a deal with 4Kids Entertainment that resulted in a shift for 10 people in the department.
Also Monday, the network announced that in addition to “Chris,” it would pick up new seasons for “America’s Next Top Model,” as well as dramas “Smallville,” “Supernatural,” “One Tree Hill,” and rookie series “Gossip Girl.”
(Editor: Baumann)


  1. Let me get this straight. I might have read the article too fast to fully digest it, so I want to know if I read this right.
    The CW is eliminating the comedy development department. I know they said they’re continuing to air comedies, but the sudden cancellation of Girlfriends and the likely cancellation of The Game and Aliens in America leads one to believe that comedy isn’t a high priority to the network anymore. Neither, apparently, are ratings as the network cancelled the number one Saturday morning broadcast block and the number one series on the network, SmackDown.
    We’re probably going to get more of the same, which is pretty much vapid reality shows and dramas about, as Mad TV put it, “pretty White kids with problems.”
    Why don’t they (Warner and CBS) just call it a day, shut down the network, cut their losses, and basically utilize the affiliates as a tightly-wound group of independent channels? The WB model failed a long time ago, and CBS don’t really care about the channel. Viewership keeps on dropping, and with the cancellation of the two elements that kept audiences watching, it’s almost safe to say The CW should just go away.

  2. That’s alot of words from such a small mind. The CW network focuses on A18-34 and has grown in A18-34 over the past two years since the change over from WB. These moves are all positive and should help the CW become even more dominant in their target demo of A18-34.

  3. I’d like to mention that since Smallville is coming back, Clark should finally become Superman this year. Everything that has occurred in the last 2 seasons (Bizarro, Lex Luthor becoming a villain, Supergirl coming to Earth, the Justice League being formed) in the past has always taken place AFTER Clark donned the costume, not before. This is true even in the current comics.
    Besides when did Clark, Lana, etc. ever finish college? That seems to have been forgotten.
    The actors are also getting too old to play teenagers, now, even though they are still fairly young.
    I hope they don’t go to a 9th or 10th season with Clark still preparing to become Superman!
    Otherwise, they might as well hire Ron Ely, the ex-Tarzan, to play the elderly Superman, as they did in the final episode of Superboy (the original version of Smallville…)

  4. Thurston,
    Interesting thought. I think the CW and WB were destined to fail from the start. You know the big three networks and the premium cable channels (hello HBO) get first stab at the hottest development properties. To avoid competing for these properties, the CW and WB chose to focus programming on the younger, teen demographic.
    No doubt it seemed like a good strategy at the time, but it hasn’t worked. In this multi-medium age, teens aren’t that focused on TV. Plus, compared to other demographics, they don’t spend that much money. Also, you can’t grab them or any other viewers if you aren’t pouring the dollars into promotion. And, the CW and WB definitely failed on the promotion front. They didn’t have a deep enough $$$$ well to get the eyeballs watching. That equals failure.
    Still, I’m glad they gave it a go because — without them — I wouldn’t have had my Gilmore Girls, my Veronica Mars… Gee, I can’t think of anything I’ve enjoyed from the CW.

  5. There is no evidence to support the conclusion that The CW has grown in 18-34s over the past two years. The numbers are lower, not higher, than The WBs.

  6. As long as we continue to see SUPERNATURAL, I’ll be a happy camper! Long live the WB! Love, Robin

  7. Let’s see – ages 18-34 aren’t watching tv. So let’s set up a channel for them. Great economic model.
    How about an AARP age group channel? Could begin with a simulcast of the CBS evening news and end with a simulcast of David Letterman. And in between, simulcast cable channel shows that appeal to that age group. No upfront programming costs.

  8. The CW’s problems are due to a failure in leadership. Overspending, poor management, poor planning and lack of clear goals. Ask anyone attached to the network present or past they’ll all tell you the same thing. Too many egos.

  9. I think its sad that a network that was once thriving with comedies that african american’s could relate to is vanishing to one. I am a serious fan of Girlfriends (the african american answer to sex and the city) and the Game. Now its bad enough that Girlfriends was cancelled, now your going to take the Game too? Damn, leave something besides Everybody Hates Chris!

  10. WOW. I was wondering what happened to Girlfriends and they kept changing the time for the Game i lose interest in the channel. Does anybody no if Girlfriends is getting picked up by another channel?

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