The CW network has been put up for sale by joint owners WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS, with Nexstar Media Group in advanced stages on a potential deal that could give a controlling stake in the broadcast network, multiple outlets have reported.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said that WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS were seeking to sell a significant stake or all of The CW, citing unnamed individuals familiar with the matter.
Nexstar, the country’s largest broadcaster and owner of many CW affiliate stations, has emerged as the frontrunner to acquire a majority stake in the network while ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia would remain as minority owners with commitments to being primary content providers, the Journal reported.
Reps for ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia and Nexstar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the Journal, the youth-skewing CW isn’t profitable but the programming produced for the network is a valuable asset for other platforms — with Warner Bros.-produced shows like “Riverdale” generating large viewership and revenues from streaming on Netflix.
Last October, with the beginning of the 2021-22 TV season, The CW expanded to a seventh night of programming on Saturdays. In exchange for the new hours, The CW returned the 3-4 p.m. weekday afternoon block to its affiliate stations.
“Becoming a seven-night-a-week network has been a long-standing goal for everyone here at The CW, and in an extremely tight broadcast environment, the ability to expand our primetime by two more hours each week is a dynamic shift that will be gladly welcomed by our clients and the agencies,” CW executive vice president Rob Tuck said when the move was announced last May.