“All American: Homecoming” and “Superman and Lois” may be the latest broadcast series dealt a major blow, as both scaled back their list of series regulars ahead of their upcoming seasons. But there’s a reason why these two shows were renewed while so many others at The CW got the boot: For a network that’s dead-set on becoming profitable, saving both series made financial sense.
The CW president of entertainment Brad Schwartz told TheWrap that “All American,” “All American: Homecoming,” “Walker” and “Superman and Lois” make up the network’s biggest shows. Specifically, “Superman and Lois” and “Walker” are the biggest in terms of linear total audience; “All American” and “All American: Homecoming” are the biggest in terms of linear 18-to-49; and “All American,” “Homecoming” and “Superman and Lois” stand as the network’s best digital performers.
“‘Homecoming’ and ‘All American’ specifically are a large percentage of our streaming. Those shows are monsters,” Schwartz said.
That digital metric only refers to how these series perform on The CW’s app, which is expected to cross over into 100 million downloads in the next month or so. It doesn’t acknowledge the success certain CW shows have seen on other streaming platforms.
New seasons of “All American” consistently appear on Netflix’s Top 10 English-language TV list, and its spin-off, “All American: Homecoming,” also appeared on the list. Similarly, “The Flash,” “Superman and Louis” and “Kung Fu” were all top 10 shows on Max, formerly known as HBO Max.
But there’s another reason why these four were selected amid The CW’s many cancelations and series endings. They’re also successful for Warner Bros. and CBS, the network’s two founding co-owners. Both “All American” and “Homecoming” have made money thanks to their deals with Netflix. “Walker” and “Superman and Lois” also benefit from a similar deal with Max.
“It was very easy to focus on those four as our biggest shows and best performers. And then it was also easier to have conversations with CBS and Warner about ‘how can we make these shows work for everybody?’ because there was a successful track record,” Schwartz said. “CBS and Warner Bros. know what they make on them internationally, know what they make from their Netflix and HBO sales. We know how they do for us. They can project what a library of 60 or 70 episodes is going to make for them forever. You can put all the math together and be like, ‘Is there a path for us as partners?’”
Though Nexstar currently has the controlling stake of The CW with 75%, CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. own 12.5% each. “For those four shows? We made it happen,” Schwartz said.