In 2022, the death knell for the Arrowverse began ringing once Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and DC’s Stargirl were canceled by The CW, leaving The Flash as the remaining superhero drama connected to the shared universe started by Arrow. Barry Allen’s series won’t be continuing past this year as its ninth season will also be its final run.
As such, Superman & Lois is the last superhero series with tenure on the network. Though Gotham Knights is set to premiere in March, this will be the first time in years that CW isn’t overrun by flights, tights, and superpowers. With all that’s going on at Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), and the retooling James Gunn and Peter Safran are doing over at DC, it’s looking like we could be moving into a new era on The CW that doesn’t include DC TV.
Will DC TV on The CW end in 2023?
Since last year, Nexstar (CW’s new majority owner) has been emphasizing a scaling down of the network’s scripted programming. Their goal is to become profitable and the line-up was bloated with series generating revenue for the studios but not the network itself. Not to mention they intend on courting the 58+ audience that tunes into CW’s affiliate stations.
This downsizing has necessitated cancellations and talks of budget cuts. You pair that with WBD’s shifting business model as well and you can understand why fans of DC TV on network television are nervous about this new era.
Superman & Lois performs well for CW, it’s one of their top original series with a viewership draw that’s solid by the network’s standards. However, DC is gearing up to follow Marvel’s example with their DCEU. While this doesn’t mean all the programming they produce will be a part of that shared universe, it could mean localizing DC’s live-action content in one place, which would mean either a move to HBO Max for this iteration of Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s story or the plug being pulled after season 3.
Neither Gunn nor Safran have commented on The CW’s DC series. So, currently this is just conjecture, but the network may be out of the superhero business by the end of 2023.
Gotham Knights skews young which Nexstar wants to start moving away from. Justice U, a spin-off in development which stars David Ramsey as the Diggle from Superman & Lois‘ universe, also skews young. And Hollywood Reporter‘s sources are saying that “DC Comics fare will not be the focal point” of Greg Berlanti’s new deal with Warner Bros.
DC TV on The CW is essentially the Berlantiverse. If he’s changing his focus, that could spell the end of an era. A long one at that considering the Arrowverse’s impact lasted over ten years. But with Superman & Lois‘ future uncertain, Gotham Knights untested, and Justice U still cooking, we could end this year with the network clearing the decks of superhero dramas. After all fewer than 5 U.S. scripted originals are reportedly moving forward in 2023 and All American already claimed a spot for its sixth season run.
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