The CW, WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS, Saturday

The CW is going to be a full seven-day-a-week broadcast network for the first time in its 27-year history. It has been announced that the youth-skewing network, co-owned by WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS, will expand its primetime schedule to include Saturday next season.

This will be the first time that The CW has programmed seven nights a week throughout its entire run, including its time as the WB and UPN. This change will begin with the 2021-22 season and it will see the network air 14 hours of primetime programming a week from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Monday-Sunday. The big four networks typically don’t program original programming on Saturdays because that has been largely abandoned in the past two decades for sports, repeats, and the news. 

The CW is aiming to buck that trend by having original programming on Saturday, starting with its first Saturday of primetime programming on October 2, 2021, which will be night one of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Night two of the festival will air the following night, Sunday, October 3, 2021. The CW is expected to unveil its Saturday lineup along with its fall 2021 schedule the week after next during their upfronts presentation. Don’t expect to see shows like The Flash or Riverdale airing on Saturday nights, however. It’s more than likely that Saturday will be the home of non-scripted programming and acquisitions that will allow for their ratings threshold to be a bit lower on the night without causing a headache for the network. 

Because The CW got the affiliates’ blessing to take Saturday primetime from them, the network will return the stations the Monday-Friday 3:00 PM-4:00 PM afternoon to program their own needs. The CW has been airing syndicated talk shows during that time period and while that could remain the same, that decision will come down to the affiliates thanks to the recent primetime Saturday acquisition. Rob Tuck, EVP, National Sales, The CW, had this to say about the new direction:

“Becoming a seven-night-a-week network has been a long-standing goal for everyone here at The CW, and in an extremely tight broadcast environment, the ability to expand our primetime by two more hours each week is a dynamic shift that will be gladly welcomed by our clients and the agencies. Following the recent industry trend which has seen considerable contraction on a linear basis, The CW will buck that trend this season by adding a new night of original programming, creating new opportunities for us going forward.”

What are your thoughts on The CW becoming a seven-night-a-week network?

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