The CW lays off 30-40 employees after acquisition of Nexstar

Longtime CW boss Mark Pedowitz was fired in early October.

Around 30-40 employees of The CW were laid off by new owner Nexstar Media on Tuesday, IndieWire has learned.

The move marks the CW’s first major overhaul after Nexstar, the largest television station owner in the United States, assumed control of the channel’s operations on October 3. Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, the former owners of The CW, sold a majority of their unprofitable joint venture to Nexstar in June.

Among those fired Tuesday was Paul Hewitt, who has been the CW communications chief since its inception from UPN’s merger with The WB in 2006. In his place, Beth Feldman has been named SVP of Network Communications, taking on the role in addition to her current responsibilities as Executive Director of Communication, Networks Division of Nexstar.

“Over the past 20 years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have played a role, albeit a small one, in shaping, influencing and even defining popular culture with the series we have created and shared with our passionate fans,” said Hewitt in a statement about his exit. “This job has been an absolute gift, and I am eternally grateful to all of my colleagues in our CW family, the producers and talent on the shows, too many to list, for having had the pleasure of working with them and before.” above all, a world-class PR team that I’m proud to say has always been the best of the best in the business. I’m excited to jump headfirst into the next chapter of my career, and I wish Dennis, Sean, Beth and everyone at The CW and Nexstar well as they lead this network into its bold new future.”

The news also follows the departure of longtime The CW CEO Mark Pedowitz, who left his position on acquisition day after serving as the station’s chief executive since 2011. He was replaced by Dennis Miller, a former Sony Pictures Entertainment executive. Branding manager Rick Haskins and ad sales manager Mitch Nedick also left the company ahead of Tuesday’s layoffs.

Reportedly, Nexstar’s overhaul of The CW will drastically reduce its spend on originally written programming, focusing on acquired programming, newscasts, unscripted programming and other projects aimed at older viewers who actually watch TV shows, as opposed to younger viewers , many CW shows have targeted.

10 shows on the channel in May (“Naomi”, “4400”, “Batwoman”, “Charmed”, “Dynasty”, “In the Dark”, “Legends of Tomorrow”, “Roswell, New Mexico” and “Legacies” ) were dropped and made up more than half of The CW’s programming. Additionally, four series — including longest-running hit The Flash, Stargirl, Nancy Drew, and Riverdale — will complete their runs during the 2022-2023 broadcast season.

For years, the network was best known for its programs based on DC Comics shows set in the world established by the 2012 hit “Arrow” and featuring Warner Bros. characters. With these cancellations, only two DC shows remain on the network with the potential for future seasons: “Superman & Lois” and the upcoming “Gotham Knights.”

We still don’t know the fates of “All American”, “Walker”, “Kung Fu”, “Walker: Independence” and “The Winchesters”. Unscripted programs that have aired on the network include Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Masters of Illusion, and the revival of the improv comedy series Whose Line Is It Whatever?.

Tony Maglio contributed to the coverage.

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Lindsay Lowe

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