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Why Legacies And So Many More Shows Got Cancelled At The CW This TV Season

Hope on Legacies on The CW
(Image credit: The CW)

This past week was tough for TV aficionados, especially those who avidly follow The CW. The network, which launched in 2006, cleaned house, cancelling more than half of its programming lineup, including series like Legacies and Dynasty. This seemed out of character for the company, as it doesn’t really have a reputation for massive cancellations. So what’s with the change in the entertainment entity’s approach this season? Well, it has to do with a number of key factors. 

One of the biggest reasons for the recent wave of cancellations is probably obvious: money. Since its inception, The CW hasn’t been incredibly profitable on its own, though the powers that be were able to capitalize on the shows by establishing lucrative international broadcasting rights agreements. There’s also the billion-dollar deal Warner Bros. TV and CBS Studios (who both established the channel) forged with Netflix. With this, there wasn’t an immense amount of pressure for series like Legends of Tomorrow or Charmed to generate incredibly high ratings. 

However, as THR explains, times have changed because Warner Bros. and CBS Studios put the kibosh on the Netflix deal back in 2019. This is because both entities were aiming to prop up their own respective streamers, HBO Max and Paramount+ (in an attempt to face off with Ted Sarandos and co. in the streaming game). The trade also notes that those international deals no longer yield massive profits, either. So in short, it no longer benefited the young adult-centric channel to hold on to the likes of Legacies or Roswell, New Mexico

Another factor that should be mentioned is the recent  Warner Bros./Discovery merger, which means that the two entities that created The CW now adhere to a new corporate structure. Additionally, the network may be on the verge of being sold to potential buyers like Nexstar, which may or may not lead to more changes for the corporation.

The axe first came down at the end of April when the network cancelled Batwoman after three seasons. And even more surprisingly, veteran Arrowverse show Legends of Tomorrow was dropped following a seven-year run, after which Caity Lotz and the cast reacted. And in the past week, Legacies, Dynasty, Charmed, The 4400, Naomi, Roswell, and In the Dark. To put this all in perspective, THR reports that the network has on average only dropped 3.3 shows over the last decade and renewed 10.3. So yeah, this year was almost like a “Red Wedding,” as Julie Plec quipped

Not everything was cleared out, though, as the channel kept stronger performers like The Flash, All American, Riverdale and Superman & Lois. It also picked up series like Jensen Ackles’ Supernatural prequel (which will expand the mythos) and Batman-adjacent show Gotham Knights, which features Misha Collins in the role of Harvey Dent.

It’s more than clear that a new day is dawning at The CW, and it doesn’t look like the network will ever be the same. Fans will probably continue to lament the loss of the various series, but they’ll just have to make due with the remaining offerings and the new ones coming in. And we’ll see how things continue to unfold for the broadcasting company as corporate changes continue.

Keep track of TV series that have unfortunately received the ax by checking out CinemaBlend’s list of major shows that have been cancelled or are ending in 2022. And for somewhat more optimistic news, you can head on over to the 2022 TV schedule for info on programs that are premiering and returning.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.