Nexstar Talks To Buy The CW Appear Closer To Agreement

'Tom Swift' on The CW
The CW's 'Tom Swift' (Image credit: The CW)

Nexstar Media Group’s long-simmering talks to acquire control of The CW network appear to be closer to an agreement, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The CW is a joint venture of Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery. Both of those companies are more focused on streaming than linear networks, while Nexstar, the largest owner of CW affiliates, is more focused on expanding broadcast audiences.

Talks have been going on about a deal since the beginning of the year. Sources indicated that the sides have gotten close enough that a deal could happen in July.

Also: Perry Sook Sees Nexstar Owning a Broadcast Network in the Future

None of the companies involved would comment on this story.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Nexstar is trying to negotiate a deal in which it would not pay any cash to acquire a 75% stake in the network. Nexstar would be absorbing the network’s substantial losses.

Also: The CW Stresses One-Brand Approach at Upfront Event

Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery would each retain a 12.5% stake in The CW, the WSJ said.

Most of the programming on The CW comes from studios owned by the parent companies. Lately those parents have been pushing programming for its potential off-net value in syndication and streaming.

Also: The CW Puts Primetime Shows, Seed Content on Single App

Nexstar would aim for programming that would drive ratings and help its stations' local newscasts. As The CW’s owner, Nexstar would not be limited to programming from Warner Bros. or Paramount, sources said.

Nexstar has been looking to grow its company by supplementing its station with other businesses. After buying Tribune Broadcasting, it turned the WGN America cable channel into the NewsNation news network. It has also acquired digital content companies including The Hill. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.