CW Boss Brad Schwartz on Cancellations, ‘Superman and Lois’ Final Season and Building a Slate With Wider Appeal: ‘We Want to Be a Big 5 Network’

The executive said the Superman series will premiere in fall so it won’t be “wasted in the summer”

Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent and Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane in "Superman & Lois" (The CW)
Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin in a still from 'Superman & Lois' (The CW)

The CW has a clear goal in mind for its future: to change the conversation about the big four networks to include a fifth member. CW president Dennis Miller and president of entertainment Brad Schwartz addressed the company’s ambitions at the Television Critics Association’s 2024 winter tour.

“We want to be a big five network. And now with news, sports, talk, scripted, unscripted, live events and game shows, we’re getting there,” Schwartz said during CW’s executive session at TCA. “If last year was a time of reinvention, this year is a time of breaking through.”

As Nexstar took ownership of the network last year, CW canceled a slew of the young adult originals it was known for, including “Walker: Independence,” “Kung Fu,” the “Supernatural” prequel series “The Winchesters” and “Gotham Knights.” During that year, long-running series such as “Riverdale,” “Nancy Drew” and “The Flash” also released their final seasons.

“To be a big broadcast brand, we had to expand and do more than just that. We couldn’t operate as a niche kind of cable brand anymore, and specifically targeting an audience that maybe isn’t watching as much broadcast TV as they used to,” Schwartz said. “I think we’re still doing that thing the CW did really well. Shows like ‘Wild Cards’ kind of remind you a little bit of the old CW, like ‘Hart of Dixie’ and ‘Gilmore Girls,’ but we had to get bigger. We had to broaden out. Luckily, we have seven nights a week, two hours a night of programming to fill. Now we have sports on the weekends. We have a lot of time to sell, and I think we can serve a lot of audiences.”

Only four CW originals from the old guard remain — “All American,” “All American: Homecoming,” “Walker” and “Superman & Lois.”

The network heads broke down the strategy around saving the final season of “Superman & Lois” for the fall, even though the special effects for the series will be ready by the summer. Schwartz teased that this upcoming season is “incredible” and will be “one of the best shows on TV.”

“I watched the first episode last night, and it’s going to make you cry,” the network head teased on Thursday.

“We feel like it would be wasted in the summer. So let’s put it in the fall where we can sell it in the upfronts, and we can really, really talk about it,” Schwartz said. “We can use how awesome ‘Superman & Lois’ is, and use that to lead into another show that we’re really excited about, which is ‘The Librarians.’”

Specifically, Schwartz was referring to “The Librarians: The Next Chapter,” a spin-off of the cult favorite TNT show that ran from 2014 to 2018. The fantasy adventure drama comes from writer and executive producer Dean Devlin and will focus on a Librarian from the past, a custodian of a magical repository that holds the world’s most powerful supernatural artifacts.

Though it’s “not confirmed,” Schwartz also noted that the current plan is for Season 3 of “All American: Homecoming” to premiere in the summer of 2024.

“We felt like ‘All American: Homecoming’ was finally a place where it can stand on its own, so we’re going to go from 13 episodes of ‘All American’ and right into 15 episodes of ‘Homecoming’ so one will lead right into the other. That gives us a platform to put other shows behind,” Schwartz said. “Those two shows are also our biggest shows on streaming.”

The network heads also addressed what went into the decision to partner with LIV Golf as part of its expansion into sports. Over the past year, CW was heavily invested in the live programming genre, signing deals with LIV Golf, ACC collegiate football, WWE NXT and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Though LIV Golf and the ACC have already aired programming, WWE won’t come to the network until October of this year and NASCAR won’t air until 2025.

The Saudi Arabia-backed professional golf tour has been criticized by lawmakers, human rights activists and at least one organization that supports families impacted by 9/11.

“We don’t get into the internal matters that are going on,” Miller said when asked about the partnership. “There are those concerns. We certainly recognize them as as valid and understand that there’s going to be controversy around a number of sports that air on television, whether it be or mixed martial arts or golf or wrestling or whatever it is. There’s always controversy that surrounds high-profile sports. But our focus was really just putting on quality programming.”


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