The CW Merger Was Paid For By Something Unexpected

The CW purchase by Nexstar was funded by the media company selling a Chicago property to a casino developer.

By Britta DeVore | Published

The CW just can’t seem to keep their names out of headlines for outrageous reasons. After being purchased by Nexstar Media Group over the summer, the network has done a complete overhaul of its programming, canceling scripted series including Riverdale and Nancy Drew, and revealing some shocking statistics about who their main demographic of viewers is. Today’s Nexstar and CW news comes from Deadline who’ve reported that the network is now being funded by some business dealings that saw the company sell a large piece of Chicago-based property to a casino developer. 

The 30-acre piece of land will be a terrific one for a casino to set up on as it’s nestled right alongside the Chicago River by the city’s downtown Loop – an easy to get to destination for locals and tourists alike. Bally’s has taken over the contract, breaking ground on the $1.74 billion casino sometime soon. Before selling the lot to fund the purchase of The CW, Nexstar was using it as a printing and distribution center for the Chicago Tribune and several other print-based publications. 

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The business transaction couldn’t have come at a better time for Nexstar as they purchased 75% of The CW one month ago and paid nothing upfront. A questionable deal, it makes more sense when you learn that the agreement saw the buyers fully taking on The CW’s debt as well as its losses. With their upcoming shift to multicam and non-scripted projects, the company is hoping to make it all back and become profitable by 2025. 

However, the change-up in programming is a questionable one as Nexstar and The CW have stated that they’re deciding to gear their content more towards 58-year-olds who have been reported to be the average age of their viewers. The thing is if those audiences were flocking to the network to (weirdly) watch shows like Riverdale, The Flash, and Nancy Drew, wouldn’t they leave if those productions aren’t there? A statement to accompany the announcement of Nexstar’s property push from CFO Lee Ann Gliha helped to shed light on their business moves. 

According to Gliha, The CW is primarily composed of programs that are “geared toward the 18-to-34-year-old audience,” and acknowledged that their “average” viewer is 58 years old. With ratings at an all-time low, the network is hoping that by moving its production base around it’ll be able to continue to draw in that older crowd on a grander scale. Referring to the change as “beneficial,” the CFO is certain that this will be the correct decision for The CW. 

With cancellation after cancellation, it’s unclear as to what shows on The CW are safe and who may be facing the ax as renewal season rolls around. The fall brought about two prequel series that fans were looking forward to Walker: Independence and The Winchesters. Both stemming from hit shows, Walker and Supernatural, respectively, the network has no doubt seen a boost in viewership since the productions premiered. 

One major question for fans of both Walker: Independence and The Winchesters is whether they’ll be renewed. After The CW announced that each show’s premiere season wouldn’t receive back orders and would tap out after their 13 episodes, it’s been anyone’s guess. With Nexstar’s selling of property and cancellation of underperforming shows, it’s clear the company is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure its decision turns out to be a profitable one.