In its biggest contraction ever, the CW’s DC Universe lost three series heading into next season with the cancellation of veteran Legends of Tomorrow as well as Batwoman, currently in Season 3, and freshman Naomi. It now consists of veteran The Flash, Superman & Lois and new entry Gotham Knights — all for midseason — as well as Stargirl (shared with HBO Max), which is the sole DC representative on the fall schedule.
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The downsizing comes as the CW is in the process of being sold to station owner Nexstar, and its current co-parent Warner Bros., which owns the DC brand and has been supplying the CW’s superhero shows, also just went through a merger. New Warner Bros. Discovery leadership have made revamping DC a priority with are looking to build a Marvel-like cohesive cinematic universe.
Where does the CW’s DC Universe fit into that? During the network’s pre-upfront press call, the CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz would not comment on WBD’s plans but did speak about the network’s intentions.
“For the CW DC universe, we have Gotham Knights, so we are staying in the superhero business, we are staying with Greg Berlanti who has masterminded creatively the CW DC Universe,” he said.
Noting that there are only three returning DC shows, he acknowledged that the CW’s DC Universe “is not as robust as we were in years past.”
Still, “we started with one, which was Arrow 10 years ago, and we have now moved on to create a whole bunch of superheros and we are proud of it,” Pedowitz said. “We plan to stay in this business no matter what the outcomes is in the event of a sale or no sale. I think the Warner side realizes the value of having these properties up, DC Comics realizes the value of what it does for their marketability in terms of what these franchise are. Legends created a whole new life for characters they may not have even existed or used; they had not seen the light of day. We have brought enormous value to DC and Warner Bros. in terms of realization of the universe Greg Berlanti and his team have created.”
Again, not being able to speak on behalf of Warner Bros. Discovery about how they envision the CW’s DC sub-universe being connected to the overall DC universe they control, Pedowitz said, “As far as we are concerned, we are interconnected because of the work of Greg Berlanti and his team and will stay that way.”
Gotham Knights shares characters with Warner Bros.’ Batman feature franchise; the network has its own Superman, and the CW’s Flash co-exists alongside the feature version of the character in the studio’s upcoming movie.
The CW DC Universe’s flagship series, The Flash, is heading into its ninth season, surpassing Arrow as the longest-running DC drama on the network.
“We have not any determination whether this may be the final season,” Pedowitz said.
He plans to have a sit-down with series EPs Eric Wallace and Berlanti soon to discuss the show’s future.
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