The CW Floats $1M An Episode License Fee For Drama Series – Deadline

Oldest scripted series on the air, not counting the series that officially ended this season CW is the main all American, Currently in its fifth season. All other shows are three years old or younger. This is important because the chain becomes more expensive as it ages.

And, as demonstrated by the new owners of The CW, Texas-based Nexstar Media Group, cost-cutting is a key element of their plan to make the independent TV network profitable, which includes reducing the volume and price tag of original scripted series. Including and increasing the cost effective unwritten rent.

As part of cost-cutting efforts, I heard that Nexstar executives are trying to renegotiate agreements with The CW’s current scripted series suppliers, CBS Studios and Warner Bros. Television, for $1 million for the drama series. A target license fee of dollars per episode is running. going forward. This is much less than the current license fee that The CW pays for their plays, which I’ve heard range from low to mid one million dollars to high one million dollars/around $2 million per episode. (I heard The CW charged $1M for an episode license fee years ago, but the network had to move as production costs began to rise and competition for talent drove up actor prices.)

I heard the idea was met with resistance, with sources telling Deadline that it would not be possible to produce a one-hour series on that license fee, incurring additional losses, running for the first time under The CW’s current model, and finding a studio. Trying domestic off-network and international buyers.

“It’s challenging,” said an industry source.

Another observer noted that the new regime’s emphasis on cheaper, wider programming with an emphasis on reality could reduce the value of CW scripted series internationally, making it more difficult to monetize.

“Where it was DC and a network of interesting dramas and YA fare, it is now going to be a low-cost alternative show with no brand that makes sense. So if you are selling a show internationally, buyers will be very less interested in paying more for the show,” said the person.

If the new CW leadership is open to creative arrangements, such as taking the series to another window or agreeing to a shorter in-season window, making out-of-season rights more valuable, I’ve heard studio executives to listen. can be ready.

There has been discussion that some studios other than CBS Studios and WBTV, which did not do business with The CW, are exploring deal templates with the network, but most vendors wait until a new top CW programming executive is named and Take a look at the approach. , (time limit Identified Former pop TV chief Brad Schwartz as a leading contender for the job.)

From what I’ve heard, most sales have come in October, following the exit of The CW’s longtime president and CEO Mark Pedowitz, who was replaced as network president by Nexstar’s Dennis Miller, and at least some was put directly on the network and has yet to be closed into a studio due to the unclear financial model of the network.

time limit discovered in august That the network had reached out to the creative community highlighted that it plans to broaden its slate by adding half an hour of comedy, including multi-camera sitcoms, along with procedural and other old-fashioned dramas.

I’ve heard that some projects are zeroed in over the summer, while others have been rolled out. It is not yet clear whether CW will go through a normalization cycle and order pilots or switch to a less expensive development model that includes direct-to-series orders and/or international co-productions. (With the network looking to reduce its scripted footprint and increase unscripted fare, the need for new scripted series for the 2023–24 season is not going to be as large as in previous years.)

“They are increasing the conversation about Canadian content and co-financing,” said an industry insider. “They’ve done it before, with the Canadian acquisition, but I think it’s more co-financing now versus the direct acquisition, which is interesting and different.”

This is an area that Miller is well versed in, and someone like Schwartz would fit in that alley as the Canadian-born executive staged several Canadian co-productions in pop, most notably hits. shits creek,

The fate of The CW’s current scripted slate is unclear beyond recent announcements that four shows are ending this season, flash, riverdale, nancy drew And star Girl, and Freshmen Waker: Independence and the Winchesters Can’t find order backs.

Due to The CW’s carriage agreements, the network can’t quite make a full 180 with the new programming identity, so the general consensus is that it will likely keep some shows – at least in the short term.

“I think they want to maintain some consistency, I think it will be very difficult for them to maintain a relationship with the existing audience base – which I think is worthwhile – if they literally turn off the lights and bring them back.” Let’s turn on something completely different,” said an industry source. “I think it’s smart business to try and retain through-line, keep customers you have and move them to new programming. “

Lynette Rice contributed to this report.