Nexstar reportedly in talks to buy big stake in The CW

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nexstar Media Group is in negotiations to acquire a significant stake in The CW network.

Nexstar is the nation’s largest owner of local TV stations, clocking in out just under 200 full power stations.

It has a stronghold on CW affiliates in the major markets of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, thanks to its acquisition of former Tribune stations.

However, the majority to Nexstar’s stations are not CW affiliates.

The CW was formed in 2006 after Viacom owned Paramount and Warner Bros. decided to shut down their UPN and The WB networks, respectively.

They then combined their efforts on The CW, which also began serving as an outlet for content produced by both companies. The “C” in the name was meant to standard for “CBS” while the “W” was for “Warner.”

Today, the network is owned by the ViacomCBS, the success to the original Viacom, and WarnerMedia, an AT&T owned company that acquired Time Warner’s assets, including The CW. AT&T is planning to sell WarnerMedia to Discovery Inc. in 2022.

Under the reported negotiations, Nexstar is likely to become a majority stakeholder in The CW with ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia retaining minority shares.

In some markets, the CBS and CW stations form a duopoly, but the CW affiliation can also be held by a sister Fox, ABC or NBC stations or owned by a standalone company.

The CW has has moderate success in programming, unlike MyNetworkTV, a former network that launched in 2006 in direct response to The CW when former WB or UPN stations were left without a network when the other adopted, in most cases, the CW.

Since then MyNetworkTV has been reduced to a programming service, rather than a full blown network, although many stations still brand under its name or the “My” naming scheme.