On Monday, news broke that Nexstar, the largest owner of local television stations in the U.S., will acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW after six months of negotiations. The deal, which will see current co-owners Paramount and Warner Bros. Discover maintain a 12.5 percent interest each, is expected to finalize in Q3 2022. As part of the announcement, it was noted that The CW will be profitable by 2025 with new programming strategies, though Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery will continue to produce scripted originals for the network “primarily” for 2022-2023 — the upcoming television season.
While the announcement certainly settles some of the uncertainty that has surrounded the fate of The CW for several months, the idea that a shift in programming is coming as part of the effort to make the network profitable has created some new ones — or at least stoked some existing ones. Among those questions is the fate of some of the existing programs on The CW, namely Superman & Lois.
Superman & Lois was renewed for a third season back in March, just one of a handful of series on the network to be given an early renewal. At the time of that renewal, there had only been reports that Paramount and then-WarnerMedia were looking to sell The CW, but even with those report and rumors swirling, Superman & Lois seemed like a safe bet given that it has consistently been a top performer in terms of live ratings and at the time was considered to be a part of the network’s successful Arrowverse of DC-inspired shows, a universe that also included The Flash, Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and tangentially DC’s Stargirl. But a few weeks later, both Batwoman and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow were cancelled and since then, it’s been announced that The Flash’s upcoming Season 9 will be its last — not to mention the major reveal at the end of Superman & Lois’ second season that the show doesn’t take place in the Arrowverse at all. It exists on a different Earth altogether.
With the Arrowverse done and The CW being sold and the network’s new focus being on reducing costs to achieve profitability through programming changes, it makes it sound like despite Superman & Lois being popular, its days may be numbered. Additionally, Nexstar President and COO Tom Carter said on Monday that while The CW’s shows historically focus on viewers in their teens through their 30s, the actual average age of the network’s viewer is 58 years old. Considering that The CW tends to spend a considerable amount of money on programming currently — something that Nexstar aims to change — putting money into a show targeted at a younger demographic when it’s an older one tuning in could also be a problem for the survival of a show like Superman & Lois.
Of course, Superman & Lois does have sort of a backup option, in a sense. Completed seasons of the series go to HBO Max, which could potentially be an option for the show’s continued existence should the new The CW no longer want to invest in it. However, HBO Max itself is undergoing changes thanks to the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery and those changes have had major impact on DC projects. It’s unclear if a series like Superman & Lois, which arguably has a smaller budget than other DC series on HBO Max, would fit into the new HBO Max strategy or if its popularity would hold in a move from network to SVOD.
At this point, it would seem that the overall fate of any show on The CW — including Superman & Lois — is entirely up in the air, though for the moment fans at least have Season 3 to look forward to. It’s believed that work on Season 3 is set to begin sometime in the near future and fans have already been told to expect the season’s arrival after midseason, sometime in early 2023. And until then, fans can get caught up on all things Lois, Clark, and Smallville with Seasons 1 and 2 of the series which are currently streaming on HBO Max. What do you think the future holds for Superman &