Today we officially got the news, The CW has cancelled The Winchesters. The announcement was not unexpected. The odds of a Winchesters renewal has been a “long-shot” for a while. First, The CW network was sold and it was clear they were going in a different direction. Second, Jensen and Danneel Ackles’ Chaos Machine Productions recently bailed on their first look deal with Warner Brothers Television (WBTV) for Amazon Studios, leaving it questionable how aggressively Warner Brothers would pursue a renewal.
It is amazing the difference a year makes. This prequel was sent to series at an opportune time this time last year. The CW was still majority owned by Warner Brothers Television (WBTV) and CBS, although a sale to Nexstar was pending. Mark Pedowitz was still the head of the network and he, being a huge fan of Supernatural, saw potential in the spinoff. The CW had always run at a loss, but the content produced managed to bolster profits for the parent companies. With their own streaming services though, both WBTV and CBS decided that they didn’t need The CW anymore to produce lower cost scripted programming for lucrative distribution.
When Nexstar took over, they did so in a no cash deal, assuming the debt of The CW instead. Their vow has been clear since the deal was announced: the network will be profitable. That meant less money for producing new shows, the bulk of the cuts coming from the license fees they gave to the studios to produce a series. Nexstar was obligated to air the shows already picked up for the 2022-2023 season, but starting in fall 2023, nothing became safe. As they approach their upfront next week, The CW has only renewed two shows (All-American and Walker). Most of the programming announcements have been acquisitions and there has been no pilot activity.
There have been some rumblings that The Winchesters is being shopped by Chaos Machine to other outlets. Given the fact that there is a costly writers strike going on right now, negotiations with the Directors Guild of America is just starting, and all networks, studios and streaming services are drastically cutting spending, a pickup will be a very tough sell. Still, some are hoping the energetic Supernatural fandom, which helped the flagship show go for 15 years, will make enough noise to inspire a streaming service or network to give The Winchesters a chance. It’s hard to say if that passion in the SPN Family fan base will extend to The Winchesters, which has gotten at best a lukewarm response during its one season run. Ratings only averaged 790,000 total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating with Live+7 playback, although online streaming numbers were never made available and it was rumored the show did well in that space. Producer Robbie Thompson sees potential in creating more stories for John and Mary Winchester, so back room pitches are going to be critical too in the search for a new home.
Kung Fu, another CW series executive produced by former Supernatural writer and producer Robert Berens, also got the axe today. The fate of three series remain – Superman and Lois, All-American: Homecoming and Gotham Knights. At this time, renewal for any of them is slim.
Here are some other links announcing the cancellation.
TV Line: https://tvline.com/2023/05/11/the-winchesters-cancelled-season-2-cw-supernatural-spinoff/
TV Insider: https://www.tvinsider.com/1092752/the-winchesters-kung-fu-canceled-cw/
Deadline later reported on Jensen’s launch of a #SaveTheWinchesters campaign:
— Jensen Ackles (@JensenAckles) May 12, 2023
EW goes further into the possibility of saving The Winchesters, reporting that “Winchesters showrunner Robbie Thompson has a five-season plan for the story.”
What do you think? Does The Winchesters deserve another season? Would you like to see the #SaveTheWinchesters campaign succeed? Will you personally miss the show? Sound off in our comments!