The CW gives all its shows a new season The network ignores traditional strategies for the chance to grow

CW The Flash

The CW Network has renewed all of its currently airing scripted content. This amounts to 11 television series returning to the channel next year.

The move is unusual for networks. The CW in general has low ratings, coming in fifth of the broadcast networks. However, president Mark Pedowitz has pushed patience and belief that viewership will grow with time. Other networks are trying similar tactics. Many have given early renewals. ABC recently gave early renewals to 15 of its series.

The shows returning are Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, Supernatural, iZombie, The 100, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Reign. The already cancelled Beauty and the Beast will end over the summer. America’s Next Top Model ended last winter but was picked up by VH1.

Pedowitz is also trying new strategies such as scheduling new content for the summer, creating year-round content. He is also pushing CW Seed which is a platform for digital content.

“The CW has become home to some of the most critically acclaimed shows on broadcast television, with a wide array of fantastic scripted series across the week, ranging from musical comedy, to superhero action, to gritty sci-fi dramas,” Pedowitz said in a statement. “As we continue to further our strategy of more year-round original programming, picking up these 11 series for the 2016-2017 season puts us in a great position of having proven, high-quality shows to launch in the fall as well as midseason and summer of 2017.”

The CW’s success has steadily inclined since Pedowitz became president in 2011. Since his leadership the network has had a boost in ratings, growing 56 percent in viewership. The network also does well in the 18-49 demographic, which is the primary target for advertising. They are up 30 percent in that age bracket.

The channel’s audience has also diversified. In 2011 the network’s audience was 70 percent female. Now it is almost an even split between genders with women at 52 percent and men at 48 percent. The increase in male appeal is attributed to the network’s DC related content.

The DC related content, which includes Arrow, The Flash and new series Legends of Tomorrow, are the highest rated shows on the network. The Flash is currently the highest rated show in CW history with over 5 million viewers.


The network’s critical success has also been steadily increasing. Several of their shows that are not ratings successes have received critical and award prestige. In 2014 Jane the Virgin became the first CW show to win a Golden Globe when lead actress Gina Rodriguez won for Best Actress in Television Series-Musical or Comedy. The following year Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom (not the CommonGeek Reporter) also won the award for Best Actress.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was also renewed despite being the lowest rated show on network television. The freshman series has barely cracked a million viewers throughout its run but has received near universal praise from critics.

Supernatural is returning for its 12th season. It is now the longest running show in both CW and WB history, beating 7th Heaven’s record of 11 seasons. The show originally debuted on The WB network and has been part of the CW line-up since the channel debuted in 2006.

The network has also picked up six pilots for next season. Three of the works are from creators with works currently on the channel. The pick-ups include a sci-fi drama from The Vampire Diaries co-creator Kevin Williamson and an adaptation of Archie Comics called Riverdale. Riverdale is spearheaded by Greg Berlanti, who produces the CW’s DC content as well as Supergirl on CBS. Also coming is  a drama from Jane the Virgin producers called No Tomorrow. No Tomorrow recently cast Joshua Sasse of ABC’s Galavant in the lead, making renewal for the low-rated comedy unlikely.


Editor’s note: This was a topic on this week’s CommonGeek RoundTable podcast. Click here to listen.

About the author

Lindsey Capritta

Lindsey is a Valley Girl imagining herself a Brontë heroine (sadly, she is not witty enough to come up with that line herself). Lindsey reads constantly, be it fiction or history, which she loves to study. Lindsey adores musicals and theater in general and attempts to pattern her everyday dialogue after Amy Sherman-Palladino shows.

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