Changes are coming for 8 CBS-owned CW stations.
Employees of the stations were told this morning that the stations will cancel their affiliation with The CW and become independent from September. When the change goes into effect, Paramount will own 14 CBS stations and 13 independent stations.
According to Wendy McMahon, president and co-head of CBS News and Stations, the company will program the stations with content from elsewhere in the Paramount portfolio, and will also strategically pursue sports deals, similar to the deal Scripps closed this week to Las Vegas. to broadcast Vegas Golden Knights hockey games, or Gray TV’s deal with the Phoenix Suns.
“We look forward to re-establishing these stations as independent stations while leveraging the significant value of their prime-time real estate in each of the markets,” McMahon said in a statement. “It is an exciting time to look at new opportunities to add local programming, including live sports and shows from all of Paramount Global’s brands. We are also grateful to have been a part of The CW for 17 memorable years and wish our partners at Nexstar the best of luck.”
While regional sports networks are struggling, some local TV stations are trying to make deals to bring MLB, NBA and NHL games to their broadcasts. By being independent, the soon-to-be independent stations will have more freedom to broadcast live games in primetime.
As McMahon pointed out, The CW is now owned by local TV giant Nexstar, with Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery will each retain a small stake of 12.5 percent (although Nexstar has an option to buy out their share next year). Nexstar follows a different strategy of cheaper originals while relying on its own ownership of local CW stations.
Among other programming, Nexstar made a deal with LIV Golf for its CW stations, though the CBS-owned stations chose not to carry the games, likely due to the company’s close relationship with the PGA Tour.
The 8 CW stations going independent are: WPSG Philadelphia (DMA #4), WUPA Atlanta (DMA #6), KBCW San Francisco (DMA #10), KSTW Seattle (DMA #12), WTOG Tampa-St. Petersburg (DMA #13), WKBD Detroit (DMA #14), KMAX Sacramento (DMA #20), WPCW Pittsburgh (DMA #26).