The CW, owned jointly by the Creator/{{CBS}} Corporation and Time Warner through its Creator/WarnerBros Entertainment division (hence the initials), is the result of the 2006 merger of Creator/TheWB and Creator/{{UPN}}. This is a network that is ''utterly'' about demographics. Specifically, that demographic which spends more time online than it does watching the tube. A pretty smooth move, since reaching young adults means giving them something to talk about on the Internet (hence their 200912 slogan "TV To Talk About", and their previous "TV Now" slogan, which is the network's admission they don't care if you watch on TV or online).

Nearly all of The WB's and UPN's best-known programs -- ''Series/GilmoreGirls'', ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', ''Series/AmericasNextTopModel'', ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'', ''Series/OneTreeHill'', ''Series/VeronicaMars'' -- were carried over from those networks. To fit all these shows and add some newer ones on the new lineup, The CW initially used The WB's scheduling model six nights a week of primetime shows (five hours on Sundays, and two hours Monday through Friday), two hours in daytime on weekdays and five hours on Saturday mornings, the latter of which consisted of Creator/KidsWB lineup carried over from The WB as UPN had no Sunday primetime, weekday daytime or children's programming at its end.[[note]]The CW eventually turned over its Sunday night lineup (which languished in the ratings since the network's launch thanks in part to the success of NBC's ''Sunday Night Football'' the fall in which The CW launched) to its affiliates in 2009, following a disastrous time-lease deal with production company Media Rights Capital, and then abdicated one hour of its daytime lineup in 2010. It wasn't until the network started to become profitable that it decided to return to airing on Sundays in 2018, and even then it's only a two hour block like the weeknight lineup, with no network programming appearing in the 7 P.M. hour like the Big Four.[[/note]]

The network struggled during its first few years, to the point that the Tribune Company, owner of key affiliates like New York's WPIX and Los Angeles' KTLA, dropped CW branding on its CW stations; for example, WPIX (formerly branded [=CW11=]) has reverted to PIX 11 (a modernization of the the name it carried back when it was an independent station), while Denver's KWGN (formerly branded [=CW2=]) developed a DorkAge of calling itself "[[TotallyRadical The Deuce]]" with a younger image for a couple years, including removing their older news personalities and attempted to make themselves hip (which made it worse; it's now branded as the comparably staid "Colorado's Own Channel 2"). On top of that, notable affiliate group Pappas Telecasting partly blamed The CW's crappy performance as a factor in its 2008 bankruptcy, which also forced the company to sell off quite a few stations (including some affiliated with other networks), with KCWK in Walla Walla, Washington even being shut down. Furthermore, an attempted expansion to Guam in 2009 ended with the affiliate (newborn low-power station KTKB) dead in less than two years, though it would ultimately return the following year.

Later, though, The CW finally found its footing, with original hits such as ''Series/GossipGirl'', ''Series/NineOhTwoOneOh'' (a SequelSeries to the '90s Creator/{{Fox}} show), ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' and ''Series/{{Nikita}}'', in addition to a number of still-popular shows from the WB/UPN days (''Supernatural'', ''Top Model''), and for a while, the network seemed to be more content aiming for the teen/young adult niche (which they do spectacularly well in) than going for broader appeal like the major networks.[[note]]This is why the previous CW president got ''Wrestling/WWESmackDown'' off the network; even though it had the network's highest ratings by a wide margin, it wasn't translating into a ratings bump for the rest of its lineup due to wrestling's demographic being vastly different than, say, ''Gossip Girl'''s.[[/note]] However, new CW president Mark Pedowitz has stated that he sees the network as a general 18-34 network, citing the success of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' with said demographic, followed by the early success of the revival of ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' (in the middle of the doldrums of summer, no less), and while it still trails behind the Big Four, and even Spanish-language Creator/{{Univision}} at many points, The WB and UPN generally had much of the same ratings at their respective highs, and the network has been recovering from its torrid early years nicely. The network in fact doesn't really care about television UsefulNotes/{{ratings}} and has admitted as such, knowing many of their viewers catch their shows through the network's website, {{Creator/Hulu}} and {{Creator/Netflix}}, something that hurts reading the Nielsen chart (and as the general manager of a CW station; the current CEO of Tribune planned to remove the network on some of their major stations once the first ten-year affiliation agreement ended in 2016), but is planning for the probable future reality of television.

[[MoodWhiplash On a less pleasant note]], the launch of this network was the death knell for [[MinorityShowGhetto African-American-cast sitcoms]] on network television for several years, as it removed UPN, the only broadcast network that was still committed to running those types of programming. When UPN merged with the WB, the latter network's sensibilities wound up dominating, causing black-focused shows like ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'' and ''Series/TheGame2006'' to get lost in their new network home's identity. While ''The Game'' was lucky enough to make a ChannelHop to Creator/{{BET}} ([[LaserGuidedKarma and became that network's biggest show ever in the process]]), other shows of its ilk, such as ''Series/{{Girlfriends}}'' and ''All of Us'', saw themselves getting [[{{Cancellation}} bumped off]]. The network has begun to ask for multicultural casting for their series though, and as of 2016, the age where a DrinkingGame of "Spot Someone Not White!" was common for the network's series is a distant memory.

The network's weekday "daytime" block, where Kids' WB used to be, really isn't that. Over the years it's been home to an ever declining quantity of talk shows, starting with Tyra Banks, then down to Dr. Drew, then a show with radio host Bill Cunningham that may as well have been [[Series/TheJerrySpringerShow Jerry Springer]] and Steve Wilkos without the fighting. That show departed the airwaves in September 2016 to make way for a show of the same ilk by ''Series/RestaurantImpossible'' host Robert Irvine. ''The Robert Irvine Show'' suffered from InvisibleAdvertising, and was ultimately canned in 2018 after two seasons of abysmal ratings. The daytime slot is programmed by Tribune as an [[TheArtifact artifact]] of their former ownership interest in The WB and its importance in owning the largest CW affiliates.

Finally, The CW is also notable for boasting Creator/SabanBrands' Creator/{{Vortexx}}, the last SaturdayMorningCartoon block to air new shows. In May 2014, they announced its airtime was being sold to Litton Entertainment for yet ''another'' one of their EdutainmentShow blocks, similar to the blocks they've programmed for Creator/{{ABC}} and sister network CBS. That block premiered in October 2014, marking the {{end of an era}}.

After ''Smallville'' ended, more live-action shows based on Warner Bros.' Creator/DCComics properties have found a home on The CW. These shows have established a live-action DC SharedUniverse for the first time ever -- notably, around the same time Warner Bros. is [[Franchise/DCExtendedUniverse doing the same for DC movies]], but The CW got theirs out first. Fans have nicknamed this universe the "Series/ArrowVerse" after ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', the series that started it all. It got even larger in May 2016, when ''Series/{{Supergirl|2015}}'', which did OK but not life-changing ratings for CBS, was given over to the CW based on the momentum of a successful ''Supergirl''[=/=]''Series/{{The Flash|2014}}'' crossover.

At the 2016 upfronts, Tribune and the CW came to a new agreement to renew their stations for five more years, though both parties agreed to let Tribune flagship WGN in Chicago disaffiliate from the network due to voluminous sports conflicts and a news and programming schedule that can easily beat Fox affiliate WFLD, even without the CW (WGN's news audience is more traditional and broad, which caused havoc for programming flow from primetime). WPWR, the Creator/MyNetworkTV affiliate in that market, took over the CW rights in Chicago. The Hulu arrangement ended the same month to make way for a much-improved app experience, along with a renewal of the Netflix agreement that will see the full seasons of series hit that service a mere couple weeks after the end of their latest seasons.

Being a newer network, The CW has a few bugs to work out with carriage in some markets, albeit not to the extent of [=MyNetworkTV=] and Creator/{{Ion}}. Several smaller markets go for a national feed called Creator/TheCWPlus, which mixes syndicated shows with network programming (and is the basic successor to The WB 100+ Station Group, the small-market feed of co-predecessor The WB). HD tends to depend on the market (some have HD, some don't), and many stations are cable-exclusive. It also has a substantial amount of stations that lie on digital subchannels, which again may or may not be HD, and most are CW Plus affiliates. Unlike [=MyNetworkTV=] though, airing its shows in primetime (except for sports and news situations) is compulsory, meaning seeing ''The Flash'' as 3 a.m. filler is a virtual impossibility.

[[folder:Current Shows on The CW]]
* ''Series/{{The 100}}'' (2014 -- present)
* ''Series/{{Arrowverse}}'' (2012 -- present):
** ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' (2012 -- present)
** ''Series/{{The Flash|2014}}'' (2014 -- present)
** ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'' (2016 -- present)
** ''Series/{{Supergirl|2015}}'' (2016 -- onwards) [[note]]originally CBS[[/note]]
* ''Series/BlackLightning2018'' (2018)
* ''Series/{{Charmed|2018}}'' (2018 -- present)
* ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'' (2015 -- present)
* ''Series/{{Dynasty|2017}}'' (2017 -- present)
* ''Series/IZombie'' (2015 -- present)
* ''Series/JaneTheVirgin'' (2014 -- present)
* ''Series/TheOriginals'' (2013 -- present)
* ''Series/PennAndTellerFoolUs'' (2014 -- present)
* ''Series/{{Riverdale}}'' (2017 -- present)
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' (2006 -- present) [[note]]originally The WB[[/note]]
* ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' (2013 -- present) [[note]]originally ABC[[/note]]

[[folder: Past Shows On The CW]]
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' (2009 -- 2017)
* ''Series/SeventhHeaven'' (2006 -- 2007) [[note]]originally The WB [[/note]]
* ''[[Series/BeverlyHills90210 90210]]'' (2008 -- 2013)
* ''Series/AmericasNextTopModel'' (2006 -- 2015) [[note]]originally UPN; moved to Creator/VH1[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Beauty and The Beast|2012}}'' (2012 -- 2016)
* ''Series/TheCarrieDiaries'' (2013 -- 2014)
* ''Series/{{Containment}}'' (2015 -- 2016)
* ''Series/{{Cult}}'' (2013)
* ''Series/EmilyOwensMD'' (2012 -- 2013)
* ''Series/EverybodyHatesChris'' (2006 -- 2009)
* ''Series/{{Frequency}}'' (2016 -- 2017)
* ''Series/GilmoreGirls'' (2006 -- 2007) [[note]]originally The WB; moved to Creator/{{Netflix}} in 2016[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Girlfriends}}'' (2006 -- 2008) [[note]]originally UPN[[/note]]
** ''Series/TheGame2006'' (2006 -- 2009) [[note]]moved to BET[[/note]]
* ''Series/GossipGirl'' (2006 -- 2013)
* ''Series/HartOfDixie'' (2011 -- 2015)
* ''Series/{{Hellcats}}'' (2010 -- 2011)
* ''Series/HiddenPalms'' (2007)
* ''Series/LifeUnexpected'' (2010 -- 2011)
* ''Series/MelrosePlace'' (2009 -- 2010)
* ''Series/TheMessengers'' (2015)
* ''Series/{{Nikita}}'' (2010 -- 2013)
* ''Series/NoTomorrow'' (2016 -- 2017)
* ''Series/OneTreeHill'' (2006 -- 2012) [[note]]originally The WB[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Reba}}'' (2006 -- 2007) [[note]]originally The WB[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Reign}}'' (2013 -- 2017)
* ''Series/{{Ringer}}'' (2011 -- 2012)
* ''Series/TheSecretCircle'' (2011 -- 2012)
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' (2001 -- 2011) [[note]]originally The WB[[/note]]
* ''Series/StarCrossed'' (2014)
* ''{{Series/The Tomorrow People|2013}}'' (2013 -- 2014)
* ''Wrestling/WWESmackdown'' (2006 -- 2008) [[note]]originally UPN; now on Creator/USANetwork[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Valor}}'' (2017 -- 2018)
* ''Series/VeronicaMars'' (2006 -- 2007) [[note]]originally UPN[[/note]]