Nexstar is not wasting any time in cleaning house at The CW.
Hours after the station group announced that former board member Dennis Miller would take over The CW as president for CEO Mark Pedowitz, the newly installed executive made a surprise appearance Monday at the network’s Burbank, Calif., offices and continued to make changes in its executive ranks.
Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Rick Haskins, president of streaming and chief branding officer, as well as finance chief Mitch Nedick were let go by Miller on Monday. Sources note that the two executives were informed that their last day with the network will be Friday.
Haskins, who was Pedowitz’s top lieutenant and often accompanied him on press calls with reporters and on the upfront stage, oversaw all of The CW’s branding, marketing, and promotional efforts as well as its overall strategic vision and distribution of content on its streaming platforms. He also oversaw The CW’s acquisitions and social platforms as well as The CW’s free, ad-supported streaming service, CW Seed. He has been with the network for more than a decade.
Nedick meanwhile, was named finance chief in early 2006 and was one of the first 10 staffers hired at The WB, the former network that is now known as The CW. Under his purview, he helped Pedowitz grow The CW to a 30-hour-a-week network with content over seven nights a week.
It’s unclear if additional layoffs are expected to come as station group Nexstar officially took control of The CW on Monday after acquiring a controlling 75 percent stake from CBS Studios and Warner Bros. TV. Both studios each retain a 12.5 percent stake in the network.
Reps for The CW and Nexstar declined comment.
Nexstar is expected to evolve The CW into a broad-skewing network that, CEO Perry Sook vowed to make profitable by 2025. The CW has never been profitable since its creation though its business model was not designed to do so. Rather than The CW turning a profit, its programming delivered millions and millions of dollars to CBS Studios and Warner Bros. TV who sold programming to Netflix and via international sales. With the need to keep content for its own streamers, HBO Max and Paramount+, the $1 billion CW output deal with Netflix was not renewed and international sales dried up as those rights needed to stay with their internal streamers.
The timing of the layoffs couldn’t be worse as The CW is launching its 2022-23 fall season of new and returning shows this week and next, throwing a question mark into how much promoting pricey originals now and for midseason will be a priority under its new Nexstar-driven leadership.