With the news last year that The CW was being purchased by Nexstar, uncertainty came regarding the fate of our beloved shows. After the fan-labeled CW “Red Wedding” where multiple shows were canceled last year after the sale, this year, fans are on edge as they await news of renewals.
The CW currently runs a limited amount of scripted series: All American, All American: Homecoming, The Flash, The Winchesters, Walker, Walker: Independence, Kung Fu, Superman & Lois, Riverdale, Nancy Drew, and the upcoming Gotham Knights. However, The Flash, Riverdale, and Nancy Drew are in their final seasons.
It’s been no secret that ever since the sale of the network, news has come out that they intend to go with more unscripted programming and to cater to an older demo than usual, which leaves fans questioning the fate of their beloved shows. The CW has continued to reiterate that while focusing on unscripted television, they’re still going to mix in some scripted programming.
This is one of the latest times in recent years where we still don’t know the fate of many shows after they have received early renewals, although All American did receive the network’s first approval back in January.
Walker, which is also produced by CBS, has been a steady and reliable series on the network since its premiere in 2021. Coming off of Supernatural, The CW’s longest-running series with fifteen seasons, Jared Padalecki took on a brand new role as the main star and executive producer in this drama. Not only did Padalecki bring over a huge portion of the Supernatural fanbase, but the show is also consistently the top show on the network, often eclipsing other shows by hundreds of thousands of viewers. If The CW’s new ownership is looking towards ratings, that’s a huge win for a scripted show.
With The CW trying to skew to an older demographic, Walker continuously does well in the ratings for an older demographic, often being the top scripted series on the network for adults 50+. The series is closing out its third season soon, and with a built-in fanbase already, it would be easy for The CW to keep it and continue to market it towards an existing base while still gathering new viewers from streaming. Also, being in its third season, The CW could potentially see that the show is closer to syndication, therefore, able to garner revenue that way sooner than some other series.
With the tie to Walker, The CW greenlit a prequel last year to the highly-successful series, with Padalecki serving as executive producer on that as well. The series takes place in the late 1800s and focuses on ancestors from the original show. Since its premiere, Walker: Independence has been gaining popularity and has been showing it in the ratings; it has often been The CW’s highest-rated new series. Not only that, but every week it averages to be The CW’s third highest-rated series each week, coming behind Walker and All American. Their demo also holds up in adults 50+, which makes it a good target in what The CW wants to hold on to.
For The CW to want to keep a mix of scripted programming, it would be easy to keep both of the series and air them back-to-back as they have been, as the audiences and fanbases are the same and the demo targets similar and more in line what The CW wants to become.
Beyond the analytics and ratings, the shows have some of the smartest storytelling, backed by teams that are passionate about their shows.
Walker often tackles tough issues, such as what they’re doing this season with mental health, and they have such a way with words to really keep audiences engaged episode to episode. They tug at heartstrings and make you care for each character individually, which really captivates audiences.
With Walker: Independence, they’re showing Westerns in a whole new way with compelling storytelling and a cast more diverse than many Westerns have seen. It’s beautifully written and filmed, and in a world where fans are clamoring over Western content such as Yellowstone, this is a great addition to the Walker universe.
The cast of each show is so brilliant, too. Each person brings a unique perspective to each character, and it’s very rare that you have shows where each character is so beloved (even the villains). The actors continuously show up each and every day with their full hearts on display for their characters, and they’re so engaging with fans, which really helps explode this fanbase.
Padalecki serving as EP on both shows really shines through, and he’s a brilliant mind with over 400 episodes of television under his belt. Anna Fricke and Seamus Kevin Fahey have created worlds where fans have been able to see themselves in these characters and have fallen in love with their stories. Cast and crew alike rave about the sets that Fricke, Fahey, Padalecki, and the rest of the crew create; both being family-driven, inclusive, and diverse. It’s a place actors, crew, and people alike want to go to work.
The Walkerverse shows are deeply rooted in telling great stories, with a fantastic cast and crew. With Walker being the highest-rated scripted series on the network and Walker: Independence not far behind, it’s a no-brainer why the network needs to renew these shows.