The CW has announced that beginning fall 2018, their schedule will be expanding to Sundays for the first time since the 2008-09 season. For the past decade, the network has programmed the fewest primetime hours among the Big Five broadcast networks (Monday – Friday, 8-10 pm), with this latest scheduling evolution putting them only one hour behind FOX.
“By expanding to six nights, The CW is now able to give our fans even more of the series they’re so passionate about. Broadcasting remains the foundation of our multi-platform approach to bringing our programming to viewers. Over the past seven years, The CW has added more than 80 hours of original scripted programming to its schedule – now that number can continue to climb, as we grow our broadcast line-up, and continue to add content on every platform,” said CW President Mark Pedowitz. “I’d like to thank Chris and Ann for being instrumental in making this happen, and to thank all of our station groups for being such terrific partners as we add Sundays to our primetime schedule this fall on all our affiliates across the country.”
The news comes as The CW ordered nine pilots for the 2018-19 season, including a backdoor Supernatural spin-off centered on Sheriff Jody and reboots of both Charmed and Roswell. Not only does the expansion mean that the network will likely pick up at least 5-6 new shows, it’s a good sign for the majority of their current projects, especially those with partial orders. Apart from The Originals, which has a pre-announced final season set to premiere in April, and Valor, which Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter have as unlikely to continue, every current or upcoming CW show has a shot to return in some capacity next season.
What The CW does with Sundays, though, remains to be seen. Since they’re going to the trouble of reopening a night after a decade, they’re going to be making an effort and not using the night as a syndication/streaming farm; it’s a matter of whether they move a DC show (or possibly Supernatural) to serve as anchor or if they’re confident enough in the Charmed or Roswell projects that they think one could open a night on its own.
Thus far this season, The CW is up 3% in total viewers and flat in both the 18-34 and 18-49 demos. Additionally, their digital audience, which has a median age in the 20s, continues to grow.