The Arrowverse has been one of the true surprises of the comic book programming space. Starting a decade ago with one story about a man, his green suit, and a bow and arrow set, it’s grown to seven series, multiple crossovers, intertwined storylines, and a whole host of new takes on iconic characters. But could the Arrowverse be on the move? There is certainly a chance with the latest news coming out that its network, The CW, could see a shakeup around its majority stakeholders. The Wall Street Journal (via Deadline) is reporting that the CW’s parent companies WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS are listening to offers on the controlling stake which could ultimately shake up the programming lineup currently on the network. It’s a developing story that could have larger ramifications than just the fate of the Arrowverse.
The CW has been the home of the Arrowverse for the last decade-plus, and that isn’t likely to change with a new deal. But there is some chance it happens considering WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS would essentially exit their majority shareholding in the company. As Deadline reports, it’s a unique setup in that multiple production entities are the owners of the network, and the former actually are the ones who supply the content to the station. This is, in part, why we’ve seen DC Comic characters in the Arrowverse flourish on the network. Warner Bros. is the rights holder for that set of IP and has funneled stories and series to the CW for years now.
It’s worth noting that though The CW might end up with a new controlling interest, it’s unlikely that the programming setup would change all that much. Neither WarnerMedia nor ViacomCBS seems to want to fully cut the cord here, but rather just want another company to take over the majority rights. The former two studios would still be in the business of feeding scripted programs to the network meaning in a new deal the Arrowverse would likely be free to continue cranking out content. There would just be another studio or media company in the driver’s seat rather than two companies making joint decisions.
The Arrowverse first started back in 2012 with the Greg Berlanti-led Arrow which starred Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. The series lasted for eight seasons on the network and began the flow of programming around DC characters that would end up becoming the larger universe. Since then there have been a number of other popular offerings, many of which are still running. There’s The Flash which will soon air its eighth season, Supergirl which just wrapped up Season 6. Plus, Legends of Tomorrow is currently in Season 7. And don’t forget Black Lightning, Batwoman, and Superman & Lois as well. The CW has built out a massive stable of programming that’s been popular on not only its home channel but in streaming as well.
One of the keys to the Arrowverse has been the way The CW has worked to interconnect the characters through different arcs in crossover events and through the use of the DC version of the Multiverse. It’s helped bolster the lineup as a whole with each series sparking interest in the other DC characters. In this respect, The CW has nailed it and it stands to reason that any new company would want to keep the current structure in place. That is still to be determined.