For a number of years now, I’ve trumpeted the joy of how the CW has queers everywhere. Nearly every single show has queers, and it has been a haven for the last seven (7) years for misfits, outcasts, and queers.
New Winds Bide Bad Times
Back back back when Buffy was on the air (2006), there were two networks: UPN and WB. UPN had things like Star Trek: Voyager and Xena: Warrior Princess, while WB had Buffy, Angel, and so on. Neither network had the depth of market they wanted, so they decided to close both and rebrand as The CW. At first, CW had all the shows of both, and was a bit of a mishmash, but over time it grew into the quirky series we came to love.
In January 2022, it was made public that the CW was unprofitable.
That took a lot of us by surprise, since CW is a massively popular, if light hearted, network with a surfeit of young-adult dramas. But lo and behold CEO Mark Pedowitz confirmed that the parent companies of ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia are exploring “opportunities,” according to an internal memo reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Now, Pedowitz said it was ‘too soon to tell’ back in January, so many of us shrugged and assumed things were going to be fine. But then last month they dropped a bunch of renewals. And left out a bunch of shows. As it turns out, the CW has never been profitable! Yes, the network that fuels half the m/m fic on the internet (Supernatural) has never made a profit in and of itself. Instead it makes all it’s money from international sales and a Netflix deal.
What happened in 2019? Paramount+ and HBOMax. The streaming greed drove them to break the deal which resulted in a revelation of the profitlessness, and the end of two of the best damn shows on the network.
An Unfair Ending
The part of this that chaps me the most though is the lack of proper endings. Arrow got a final season. Supergirl got a final season. Supernatural, Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend … You get the idea. They ALL got final seasons. Look, even The 100 (of tarnished memory) got an end season!
Batwoman and Legends don’t. They don’t even get a wrap up movie like Sense8 (Netflix, yes, I know). And what makes Batwoman and Legends different from those others?
The closest we got with those other shows to having a queer lead would be The 100 and frankly it ended so badly, it’s basically like Game of Thrones where we all stopped talking about it, except for how we know Lexa was done wrong. Supergirl had Alex, but the show was named for Kara, not Alex (mains vs leads…).
But even so, the shows that CW is keeping (for now) have something in common. No queer lead/star characters.
I’m a little pissed at myself for thinking that since Batwoman made it to season 3, it was safe. It was the first titularly queer lady led series (i.e. the show is named for a queer lady character, who is the lead) to make it that far while being queer. It broke a mold!
The Time Cops Stop
Without Netflix Bux, CW put its cards on the table and are up for sale. Right now it looks like Texas-based Nexstar media will take the reins of the CW. If you just winced at the idea of a Texas company running CW, join my club. I have low hopes.
In fact, I think every single show I listed as not-yet-renewed is going to be dropped. Every. One. And I think they’re going towards reality. It’s cheap to produce (relatively), and easier to fire cast members. Oh and Gotham Knights? The series set in a near-future Gotham City with an extended Bat-family of legacy heroes? I bet it goes to HBO Max.
When Will We Know If It’s Over?
The question I had was when might we know if the CW’s halcyon days have ended.
May 19th. That’s the CW upfronts. Naomi (which has not yet been renewed) will end on May 10th, which means it’s unlikely they’ll announce it’s canceled before then. And once you hit the 10th, waiting the week+ makes sense.
But I think the golden era of the CW is about to end. So pour a glass for the two best, queerest, funnest shows that the CW ever made.