‘All American’ Might Be the Only CW Series Impacted by Writers’ Strike, President Says: ‘We Knew We Had to Get Stuff Going’

The network designed its reality and acquisition-heavy schedule overhaul knowing there was “potential” for WGA work stoppage

Daniel Ezra in All American
"All American" (Credit: The CW)

There is one CW show that may be affected by the WGA strike: “All American.” Brad Schwartz, the network’s president of entertainment, discussed the future of the series while at a press conference for the network.

“If you look at our schedule, ‘All American’ is probably the only show on there that could be strike impacted if the strike goes on for a while,” Schwartz said. “If it ends in the next month or two, we can still get it going for fall. So that one will be impacted.”

For its 2023–24 fall schedule, the network will be relying more on unscripted programming and international acquisitions. It’s a strategy most broadcasters have employed as the writers’ strike has progressed. But according to Schwartz, the network started pivoting to this overhauled strategy roughly eight months ago. The transition happened because the network heads knew “a lot of the old CW stuff” wasn’t going to be returning in the wake of the network’s rebranding. The CW also knew “there was potential for a writers’ strike.”

“I don’t know if the writers’ strike really had too much of an impact because we knew we had to get stuff going really quickly,” Schwartz said.

According to the network head, The CW was taking 10 to 20 unscripted pitches a week. Eventually the goal is for the network to have “a nice balance of 50/50” of scripted and unscripted programming.

“Unscripted is a strategy of ours, regardless of the writer strike,” Schwartz said. The network head pointed out that they have had “some success” with scripted, but that it’s easier to efficiently maximize budgets with unscripted. “This schedule is probably a really good indication of the mix of types of programming that will be coming from the CW.”

The CW’s latest primetime schedule is a staggering departure for the network once known for its young adult-focused programming. Only two CW originals will be returning this season: “All American” and “Walker,” which is set to return midseason. Instead of original scripted series, this new schedule is defined by broad, adult-oriented acquisitions from Canada and England as well as unscripted series.