Checking Out The CW

Jun 15, 2008  •  Post A Comment

While The CW has cut back on programming and is being pestered by bloggers saying that entertainment President Dawn Ostroff may bolt for the Oxygen cable network, executives as well as advertisers say they’re confident the network has found its focus and will be in the picture for a long time to come.
“We have a long-term strategy to build The CW with quality programming, strong stations and great advertisers,” The CW said in a statement. “The CW will be in business well beyond 2009.”
The network is co-owned by Time Warner and CBS, whose stakes in the network may each be worth $39 million, according to Time Warner’s annual report. Time Warner noted the network had not yet turned a profit for the company.
That said, The CW recorded an 8% price hike in advertising prices in the recently concluded upfront advertising season, as advertisers keyed in on the young-skewing channel. With 10 hours of programming to sell this season, one-third less inventory than last year, the network garnered $375 million in upfront sales. That’s down 40% from its $600 million haul in 2007.
Ratings at the 2-year-old CW, which struggled with its rookie crop of shows this year, plunged 23% this season compared with its 2006-07 season. In addition, The CW outsourced production of its Sunday night lineup, farming out that night to independent firm Media Rights Capital.
However, successes such as “Gossip Girl” and strong early buzz on “90210,” the upcoming remake of “Beverly Hills 90210,” have continued to establish the network as a viable outlet for reaching young viewers, particularly women. The decision to not bring back one of the network’s highest-rated shows, WWE’s “Smackdown,” which skewed mostly male, further entrenches the network in that category of reaching young female viewers.
“We are zeroed in on our target demo of young women 18-34 with both new and returning series, and each programming block provides a strong promotional platform for the following night,” Ms. Ostroff said in a statement at the upfronts last month.
(Editor: Baumann. Updated to add amount of ad inventory in fourth paragraph.)


  1. Are we starting up with this crap again? Strong buzz on 90210? Gossip Girl a success? WTF? Please, Reaper, Supernatural and Smallville all kicked Gossip Girl’s butt in the ratings – live +7 data, included (meaning, Gossip Girl’s DVR viewership still couldn’t boost its ratings above the other shows).
    I’d also like to point out that the CW comes in LAST in 18-34 viewership out of all the networks. Not first, not second, LAST. That spanish Univision channel and MTV beat them by miles and miles.

  2. You know, everytime I see a media piece about The CW, they talk about the strengths of Gossip Girl and the supposed buzz of 90210, you know, a show nobody knows nothing about except it’s based on a series featuring rich, spoiled teens . . . kind of like Gossip Girl. No diversity. No uniqueness. It’s just . . . blah. Just like the offerings from the network this season.
    Urban audiences, the folks that helped keep UPN thriving, are dwindling in numbers, but The CW doesn’t care. All of Us and Girlfriends still had life in them, but instead of bringing the latter back to at least give the show a real finale, they just let it die after the strike. The Game is only around because they want to sell it in syndication (or at least TV One) after next year. Same thing with Everybody Hates Chris, which will likely be a Nick At Nite exclusive in 2009 in rerun form.
    After this season, male audiences aren’t there, but The CW doesn’t care. You touched on the cancellation of Smackdown but failed to acknowledge it is THE highest-rated show on The CW. Not ONE of the highest-rated shows, THE highest-rated one. It also draws in more Hispanics, young audiences with children, and a large number of urban viewers. And yet, it’s moving to My Network TV.
    You touched on the outsourcing of Sunday nights, but you also ignored the fact that The CW outsourced their highly-rated Kids’ WB slot to a competing company, 4Kids Entertainment, which already programs Fox’s Saturday morning lineup and will continue to do so next season.
    Given the fact that folks within Time Warner and CBS are already talking about dissolving the partnership, Tribune (owners of CW affiliates in the biggest markets, including New York [WPIX], Chicago [WGN], and Los Angeles [KTLA]) are publicly revealing they’re coming up with a “safety net” plan “just in case.” Many station groups are also disappointed in the direction of the channel that some are threatening to drop the affiliation and become independent again. Some of them are even going bankrupt because of The CW’s failures. And yet, The CW doesn’t get it, nor do they care.
    They’ll publicly say the network will be around, but unless fortunes dramatically improve (and at this rate, they’re continuing going down the same path), The CW will be gone by the end of next season.
    People don’t want to admit they’re in a no-win situation, and that’s where The CW is at this time.

  3. Now that was a good laugh.
    I think Dawn Suckstroff wrote this article.
    The CW sucks. It’s a fact.
    All the CW shows are a failure with low ratings.
    There’s no female audience. There’s no audience at all.
    And while I’m here allow me a rant about a once good show that is now crap because of the CW.
    The CW had only one good show, Supernatural. And they completely destroyed it drastically changing the format.
    Gone are the adventures of two brothers saving people and fighting urban legends.
    Now it’s the show about Dean, a horny and extremely annoying man, with guest appearances by his brother and a bunch of retarded buffy wannabes.
    So please, if there’s a God, please God let the CW die a fast and painful death.

  4. Sir Batista, you read my mind! Whoever wrote this article must have been getting their butt stroked by Dawn Ostroff at the time. This is the most asinine journalism I have ever seen.
    Why is nobody calling a spade a spade, and admitting the network is a failure? Are they afraid of Les Moonves? They shouldn’t be. He gave us Girlicious, and anyone who would greenlight that crap can’t be too smart.
    The CW is a joke of a network. They’ve had two years to “build” an audience . . . and the’ve done nothing but lose viewers. The most being 18-34 year olds! They’ve also alienated the audiences they DO have in Supernatural and Smallville by meddling in the storylines. As Sir Bastista said, they destroyed Supernatural with their stupid gurl!power and dumb demon war. Apparently, the stories that were being told were not “cool” or “hip” enough for Dawn Ostroff, who just HAD to have a foursome and add some females. The best part? They slashed Supernatural’s budget some more so that we can watch a crappy 90210 spinoff.
    Screw you, CW, and the horse you rode in on!

  5. Saying “Gossip Girl” is a success is like saying the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals are having wonderful seasons thus far.

  6. i hate this dawn lady. you neglect your higest rated show and promote pure crap!!! that is not right at all. PROMOTE SMALLVILLE AND SUPERNATURAL!!!!!!

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