This company is out to prove there's room on the small screen for more than just the Big Four. The CW Network operates The CW, a national broadcast television network offering primetime programming aimed mostly at the young-adult audience segment. Its top shows include 90210, America's Next Top Model, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Supernatural, and The Vampire Diaries. The CW also broadcasts children's programming on Saturday mornings. Local broadcast affiliates, including several owned by Tribune Company and CBS Corporation, reach about 95% of the country. Launched in 2006, The CW is a 50-50 joint venture between CBS and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment unit.
While the network attracts a smaller audience than ABC, CBS, FOX, or NBC, The CW still generates most of its revenue through commercial advertising. It tries to maximize that small viewership by targeting its programming towards a particular demographic, namely the young-adult female audience. Without its own production unit, The CW acquires shows from several outside studios, including Alloy Entertainment (part of Alloy), CBS Television Studios, and Warner Bros. Television.
The 2010-2011 season saw the end of The CW's successful long-running show Smallville. To fill the void, along with the empty slots filled by such failed shows as Melrose Place, Life Unexpected, and Hellcats, the network has announced several new shows for Fall 2011, including The Secret Circle (showcasing the adventures of a young witch) and Ringer (staring actress Sarah Michelle Gellar). The 2009-10 TV season saw The CW solidify its core audience with the addition of its popular show The Vampire Diaries, which cashed in on the popularity of Twilight and other teen-themed vampire entertainment. It also launched Nikita, another in a long line of La Femme Nikita adaptations.
Warner Bros. and CBS created The CW in 2006 through a merger of The WB Network and UPN, both of which suffered from chronically small audiences. During its initial season, the new network leaned heavily on a mix of programming left over from the two previous ventures, including Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars. – less