We've already seen several major effects of Nexstar Media Group's purchase of The CW, including the ever-shrinking ranks of the network's DC Comics-based programming. Now, the new owners' cost-cutting has impacted yet another genre series on the network: The Winchesters.
Deadline reports that the network will not move forward with "back orders" for the Supernatural prequel series, which means the original 13-episode order is all the show gets for its first season. The same will reportedly apply to Walker prequel series Walker: Independence, and extend to all new series on the network this season. The move is part of ongoing efforts by Nexstar to lower costs amid a restructuring that also included a round of layoffs this week.
Deadline's report also stressed, though, that while this news does curtail the scope of the show's first season, it does not mean The Winchesters is headed for an automatic cancellation. Many series make it to their second seasons without a full Season 1 order, and new network head Dennis Miller has reportedly told production teams that this move is not an indication that their shows will be cancelled. That said, given the solid ratings performance from The Winchesters so far, a full 22-episode order seemed likely, and is apparently off the table at this point.
The decision comes as Nexstar continues its push to make the network more profitable by gravitating to cheaper programming like unscripted shows, a push that has already spelled the end for several ongoing CW drama series. Earlier this week, the network announced that the DC Comics-based Stargirl would conclude with its currently-airing third season, leaving Superman & Lois and the incoming Gotham Knights as the only ongoing DC shows left standing on a network that was once full of comic book series. Other shows, including The Flash, Riverdale, and Nancy Drew, are preparing for their already-announced final seasons.
Does this mean The Winchesters will end up as short as Supernatural was long? It's far too early to tell, but one thing is very clear: The CW as we used to know it is definitely fading.
Looking for more ghostly scares? Check out SYFY's SurrealEstate, which returns next year with a second season.