The CW is starting to resemble Fox, according to Perry Sook, CEO of the network’s parent, Nexstar Media Group.
“If you think about it, over time, with the same number of hours of weekday programming and its growing live sports portfolio, The CW is increasingly looking like Fox,” Sook said on the company’s quarterly earnings call. The addition of Mike Biard, a longtime Fox vet who recently was appointed COO of Nexstar, Sook added, means “we have the team to get us where we want to go.”
Addressing the strike by writers and actors, Sook said, “We are confident it will not hurt our forward progress at The CW. The majority of our fall slate was material already developed and for unscripted.”
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Nexstar acquired a 75% stake in The CW last fall, with previous 50-50 partners Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery each retaining 12.5% shares in the network. Strategically, The CW is in the midst of a major revamp. Out are the pricey, young-skewing dramas on which its brand was built over the previous 15-plus years. In are value-priced, broader-audience shows, with the company predicting the network will achieve profitability by 2025.
Sook described the company’s approach to content spending, particularly in the sports arena, as a “Moneyball” strategy, a reference to the Michael Lewis book about the financial savvy of baseball’s Oakland A’s. The CW acquired rights to LIV Golf earlier this year, reportedly without an upfront rights fee, and then added ACC sports and a NASCAR series. “We’re competing in the same league as the Big 4 networks, but we’ve got to do it smartly, and crawl, walk, run,” Sook said. “We’re going to take some smart bets and calculated risks.”
Sook’s comments came after Nexstar reported second-quarter results that beat Wall Street analysts’ forecast for earnings, with total revenue matching expectations.
MORE to come …
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