The CW Comes of Age

Essays on Programming, Branding and Evolution


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About the Book

Often overlooked in the history of broadcast television, The CW became a top-rated cable network in primetime during the mid–2000s, at a moment when many critics predicted the death of the medium. Launched as a joint venture and successor to The WB and UPN, The CW focused programming on an 18 to 34-year-old, predominantly female audience and soon won over viewers with shows like Gossip Girl, Jane the Virgin and the DC Arrowverse franchise. Nimbly adapting to the streaming services era, the network has strengthened new series development and its innovative distribution system. This collection of new essays examines The CW’s business model, marketing strategies and most popular series.

About the Author(s)

Ashley Lynn Carlson is a professor of English at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana. She has published essays on a variety of topics ranging from nineteenth-century literature to contemporary popular culture.

Lisa K. Perdigao is a professor of English at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. Her publications are in the areas of contemporary fiction, television, film, and comics.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Ashley Lynn Carlson and Lisa K. Perdigao
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 301
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8211-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4536-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Ashley Lynn Carlson and Lisa K. Perdigao 1

Part I. “TV to Talk About”: Network Identity and The CW
A “­Bridge-to-Nowhere”: Media Rights Capital and the Network’s ­Decade-Long Hiatus from Sunday Night Programming
Kimberly A. Owczarski 19
Color by The CW: How Blackness Has Fared
Phillip Lamarr Cunningham 40
The Lowest Ratings on Prime Time: The CW’s Business Model
Caryn Murphy 62
The Cultural Value of Jane the Virgin and Crazy ­Ex-Girlfriend
Paola Brembilla 78

Part II. “TV Now”: The CW in the ­Post-Network and ­Post-Feminist Era
From Late Childhood to Emerging Adulthood: Representations of Teenagers on The WB and The CW
Ashley Lynn Carlson 97
It’s the Ladies’ Choice: Female Agency on Supergirl, Jane the Virgin, Beauty & the Beast, and Reign
Marian R. Hjelmgren 121
“There’s no place like home”: Supernatural’s Domestic Crisis
Lisa K. Perdigao 141
Dare to Define: The Arrowverse and the New Television Superhero
Michael G. Robinson and Kenneth Wagner 161
#Clexa and #Sanvers Fandom: Questions of Representation, Reception, and Fans’ Reactions
Mélanie Bourdaa 178

Part III. “Dare to Defy”: Adapting and Expanding The ­CW-Verse
The Hybrid Identities of The Vampire Diaries
Angela Tenga and Lisa K. Perdigao 195
The Superhero Crossover Event: An Effective Staple of The CW’s Programming
James F. Iaccino 216
Deconstructing The CW’s Culture: iZombie and Serial Hybridization
Charles Joseph 242
How Do You Build a Problem Like Riverdale? Constructing the Imagined Community of the Archie Universe
Brenna Clarke Gray and Peter Wilkins 264

About the Contributors 283
Index 287