Nexstar Media Group is making a leadership change after completing its acquisition of the CW Network.
The Irving, Texas-based station group owner announced Monday that it has closed the deal to acquire a majority stake in the CW and that Mark Pedowitz is stepping down as its chairman. Nexstar is installing Dennis Miller, a former executive from Sony Pictures Television whose background is in non-scripted programming.
Nexstar agreed in August to acquire a 75% stake in the CW from Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, which still own 12.5% each. The CW was created in 2006 out of the merger of two smaller networks — UPN, which belonged to Viacom, and the WB, owned by Warner Bros.
Pedowitz, who headed the CW Network for 11 years, will revive his independent company, Pinestreet Entertainment. Pedowitz previously headed business affairs for Disney’s TV studios.
While the CW Network did not turn a profit as a broadcast network, it did serve as an effective launching pad for programs that generated significant revenue for its studio owners, who were able to sell the series to streaming services and overseas broadcasters.
Pedowitz developed genre programming, using well-known properties from the DC Comics universe, to give the CW Network the youngest audience on network television and a distinctive brand identity. Many CW shows, which drew small audiences on broadcast TV, became wildly popular on Netflix, where younger viewers were more likely to discover them.
Pedowitz also increased the amount of original programming on the network, expanding it from five to seven nights a week. He also improved diversity at the CW, bringing more women and people of color into its casts and behind the camera.
“This upstart network with its unique blend of programming brought The CW into the forefront of pop culture and social media,” Pedowitz said in a memo he sent to his staff Monday. “We made water cooler TV in a multi-platform world. We embraced what the audience wanted and gave it to them.”
Miller is a member of Nexstar’s board of directors. He was chairman of Industrial Media, a company specializing in non-scripted programming that was sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment earlier this year. Industrial’s titles include “90 Day Fiance” on TLC, “American Idol” on ABC, “Matchmaker” on Netflix and “The Climb” with Jason Mamoa on Apple TV+.
Nexstar is expected to move away from younger-skewing scripted programs and toward more broad-based fare that will be more compatible with the 10 p.m. local newscasts on its stations.