CBS has announced that its eight stations that are affiliated with The CW network will become independent in September. The stations in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa are contracted to air CW’s primetime programming.
CBS and Warner Bros. sold a 75% stake to Nexstar in 2022, but both companies maintain a minority share in the network.
Nexstar looked to put its stamp on the network by signing a deal to air LIV Golf on The CW in January. But a month later, CBS announced that its eight-owned CW affiliates would not air the tournaments. Several other CW stations also decided that they would not air LIV Golf, but Nexstar said that despite the loss of the CBS stations and other affiliates in Chicago, Hartford and San Diego, the PGA Tour competitor would be available in “100 percent of its markets.”
Was the move not to air LIV a deciding factor for CBS to drop The CW altogether? The network isn’t saying. However, Deadline reports that the CBS move to drop The CW was not unexpected:
When Nexstar acquired the CW last year, CBS had the right to pull its affiliations, according to one source familiar with the deal. “It was part of the arrangement,” said the source.
Currently, there are 203 CW stations that cover 99.5 percent of U.S. households.
“Since our acquisition of The CW Network last October, we have known that Paramount Global might transition the network affiliations of eight of its company-owned stations later this year,” according to a statement from the statement from Nexstar Media Group. “We are prepared for this possibility and confident that The CW Network will continue reaching 100% of U.S. television households without interruption. Paramount’s decision affects a limited portion of The CW’s nationwide reach, and we have already received multiple expressions of interest from station groups hoping to deepen their relationship with The CW by aligning more of their stations with the network.”
CBS has a long-standing partnership with the PGA Tour airing 21 tournaments this year. The network’s relationship with the PGA dates back to 1970. CBS would not comment whether its PGA Tour commitments were an influence in changing its stations from The CW to independent status.
No matter what was behind the decision, viewers in eight markets will have to find alternate methods to watch The CW this fall.