How The CW’s ‘Aggressive’ Pursuit of International Shows Has Paid Off

“We really wanted to give our studios and producers time to adapt to the unprecedented situation,” the CW’s Kevin Levy says

When the pandemic forced TV productions to shut down in March, networks were faced with a dilemma — how could they plan their summer and fall TV schedules without knowing when shooting would resume? One clever way some networks have been able to fill out their primetime lineup is by acquiring shows that have already aired overseas, importing fully prepared seasons that would be new to American audiences.

The CW set itself ahead of the curve with an onslaught of international shows, a practice the network had begun back in 2015 with the U.K. program “Penn and Teller: Fool Us.” Well before the pandemic shut down production in March, the network had lined up international productions like “The Outpost” (produced for SyFy’s international channels), “Bulletproof” (from the U.K.) as well as “Burden of Truth” (from Canada). (It’s also worth mentioning that The CW borrowed Season 1 of “Tell Me a Story” to air on broadcast after it was canceled by CBS All Access.)

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Margeaux Sippell

Margeaux Sippell

TV Reporter • margeaux.sippell@thewrap.com • @margeauxsippell