The CW Throws in the Towel on Sunday Night

May 4, 2009  •  Post A Comment

The CW is saying so long to Sundays.
The network is nearing a deal with affiliates to give up programming Sunday night this fall, a spokesman for the network confirmed Monday.
Sunday has been The CW’s weakest night since it launched; predecessor the WB never had much luck on the evening, either.
By abandoning Sundays, The CW is opening the doors to syndication companies to begin flooding its affiliates with programming alternatives. The CW currently airs three hours of primetime programming on Sundays, from 7-10 p.m., as well as two hours from 5-7 p.m. that it currently fills with comedies.
While networks are generally loath to hand any airtime back to stations, The CW said giving up Sundays, should a deal be finalized, will allow it to focus its energies on its core Monday-Friday lineup.
The shift will immediately boost the network’s overall ratings averages, while costing The CW a minimal amount of advertising revenue (given the tiny ratings the network now averages on the night).
“As we plan our 2009-10 fall launch, we are in talks with several of our top affiliate partners about a number of creative and mutually beneficial actions that will build on our growing record of success,” a CW spokesman said. “These discussions include an evolution of the strategy, which began this season, to focus The CW’s resources on Monday through Friday nights. As a result, we are now exploring the transition of Sunday night to our affiliates. This would provide a new revenue opportunity for the stations, while at the same time expanding upon our successful weekday strategy from this year, which resulted in ratings growth among our target audience.”
CW insiders said the network is making the move voluntarily and believes affiliates will welcome the chance to earn more ad revenue, even in the current lousy ad marketplace. However, one source indicated that some affilates had been lobbying The CW to give back the time.
The CW began moving away from Sundays last fall, when it leased out its lineup to Media Rights Capital to program. MRC’s shows flopped, and The CW quickly made a deal with MGM for movies.


  1. Too bad this had to happen, but it’s understandable, I suppose. Not the best sign for the net’s future, though. I work at a CW-Plus affiliate, and assume that the Plus will program this. We actually had good numbers on Sunday night in the recent March book. The movies worked for us (We had good numbers for Drew Carey and Jericho, too). Wish we COULD have Sunday prime to program.

  2. Next year, say goodbye to Monday-Friday!

  3. I’m predicting that the CW’s co-owner, CBS, will also end up turning the last hour of it’s daytime schedule back over to it’s affiliates after “Guiding Light” ends. So, I don’t think that we’ve seen the last of such a scenario like this.

  4. I want to the actual night. However I want to remain up as well as pay attention to Mumford & Sons. Choosing the latter.

  5. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

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