Nexstar completes The CW acquisition, appoints Dennis Miller as network chief

Nexstar has concluded its acquisition of The CW Network, tapping Dennis Miller as president of the broadcast network, effective immediately.

Under previously disclosed terms, Nexstar is snagging a 75% stake in The CW, while Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery will each retain a 12.5% stake and continue to produce original, scripted content for the network.

Miller assumes leadership of The CW after serving as a member of Nexstar’s board of directors since 2014. He is replacing Mark Pedowitz, who has been chairman and CEO of The CW for the past 11 years. Nexstar said Pedowitz will provide support to the company and The CW during the transition period.

“Dennis Miller brings a unique skill set of proven television, media, and technology industry expertise, as well as venture capital experience to the role of President at The CW,” stated Nexstar Chairman and CEO Perry Sook.

“His understanding and ability to unlock value from media assets by delivering high-quality, profitable entertainment, will serve the network, its viewers, its partners and CW affiliates around the country extremely well,” Sook added.

Miller has held senior executive positions at Lionsgate Television, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Turner Network Television. He spent eight years as a general partner at Spark Capital and most recently served as chairman of Industrial Media – an independent production company now part of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“This appointment perfectly aligns my intimate knowledge of Nexstar’s business approach and operating goals to realize the value inherent in The CW,” Miller said in a statement.

He added he looks forward to working with Sook and Sean Compton, Nexstar’s president of networks, to “leverage the experience and business relationships built over my career in the media, and technology industries to create new value for viewers, advertisers, affiliates, and Nexstar shareholders.”

Reports arose back in June that Nexstar was inching closer to majority ownership of The CW. Speaking at a conference call in August, Nexstar COO Tom Carter acknowledged The CW, known for long-running dramas like “Gossip Girl,” “Supernatural” and “The Vampire Diaries,” is currently the lowest-rated broadcast network.

To make the network more profitable, Nexstar aims to shift away from costlier original content. Part of Nexstar’s plans is to combine its local and national news programming with The CW’s non-news content, in order to attract advertisers.

Prior to the acquisition announcement, The CW cancelled 10 shows this year – its total volume of originals dropping to its lowest level since 2012.

As Nexstar takes the helm at The CW, it’s continuing to invest in linear TV. At the company’s second quarter earnings call, Sook said Nexstar is “accelerating” behind-the-scenes discussions with potential partners for ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) broadcast technology. He also rebuffed Netflix co-CEO Reed Hasting’s comments about “the end of linear TV.”