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The CW's cancelation of a slew of shows marks its biggest-ever transformation as ratings become a priority ahead of its sale

  • After years of expansion, The CW went down to 11 new and returning shows on Thursday with Legacies, Charmed, Dynasty, Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark, 4400 and Naomi joining the recently canceled Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman. The cancelations are a result of the pending sale to Nexstar and a change in the fundamental way The CW operates and makes decisions, as Deadline's Nellie Andreeva explains. "Having functioned as an extension of its parent companies’ studios, Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios, the CW’s role had been to help launch series which the two studios can exploit in streaming and international," says Andreeva. "A number of renewals over the years were dictated by the shows’ value to the studios, not the network, which explained why the low-rated Dynasty ran for five seasons on the CW. The show, which was canceled today, was the subject of a rich deal between CBS Studios and Netflix and making money for the studio regardless of its performance on the CW. After the CW’s sale, while Warner Bros. and Paramount are expected to retain minority stakes and continue to supply programming for it, their interests will no longer be above those of the network. The 2019 end of WBTV and CBS Studios’ Netflix output deal for the CW programming also played a role in some of the cancellations as newer series go to HBO Max/Paramount+ and do not bring in external streaming revenue, putting more pressure on them to deliver for the studios. (The end of the Netflix pact has been beneficial for the CW, which can now monetize its shows with a full-season stack for all of but The Flash, Riverdale and All American.)" ALSO: Julie Plec, who saw the cancelations of two of her CW shows and one NBC show on Thursday, compared the axings to Red Wedding.

    TOPICS: The CW, Julie Plec, Nexstar