Nexstar Media Group is making a leadership change after completing its acquisition of The CW Network.
The owner of the Irving, Texas-based station group announced Monday that it has closed a deal to acquire a majority stake in The CW and that Mark Pedowitz is stepping down as chairman. Nexstar is installing Dennis Miller, a former Sony Pictures Television executive whose background is in unscripted programming.
Nexstar agreed in August to acquire a 75% stake in The CW from Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global, which still own 12.5% each. The CW was created in 2006 by the merger of two smaller networks — UPN, owned by Viacom, and The WB, owned by Warner Bros.
Pedowitz, who headed the CW network for 11 years, will revive his independent company, Pinestreet Entertainment. Pedowitz was head of business affairs for Disney’s television studios.
Although the CW Network was unprofitable as a broadcast network, it served as an effective launching pad for programs that generated significant revenue for the studio’s owners, who were able to sell the series to streaming services and broadcasters overseas.
Pedowitz developed genre programming, using familiar properties from the DC Comics universe, to give The CW Network the newest audience on network television and a distinct brand identity. Many CW shows that drew small audiences on broadcast television became wildly popular on Netflix, where younger viewers were more likely to discover them.
Pedowitz also increased the amount of original programming on the network, expanding it from five to seven nights a week. He also improved diversity at The CW by bringing more women and people of color into its cast and behind the camera.
“This groundbreaking network with its unique mix of programming has brought The CW to the forefront of pop culture and social media,” Pedowitz said in a memo to staff Monday. “We built water cooler TV in a multi-platform world. We embraced what the audience wanted and gave it to them.”
Miller is a member of Nexstar’s board of directors. He was president of Industrial Media, a company specializing in unscripted programming that was sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment earlier this year. Industrial’s credits include “90 Day Fiance” on TLC, “American Idol” on ABC, “Matchmaker” on Netflix and “The Climb” with Jason Mamoa on Apple TV+.
Nexstar is expected to move away from youth scripted programming and move to a broader base that will be more compatible with local newscasts at 10 p.m. at its stations.