Friday, 09 December 2022

The future of the CW Network comes into greater focus

Last month, Nexstar Media Group announced that it was taking a 75% ownership interest in The CW Network.

Nexstar claims that, together with its partner stations, it is the nation’s largest local television broadcasting company.

This could be good news for The CW because it is apparently the lowest-rated broadcast network when compared to the big four of FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC. The network has been tagged as appealing only to the younger demographic.

Trade publications like “Variety” reported last month that the Nexstar president stated the average viewer of The CW is 58 years old. Hardly anyone could believe this until Nielsen data backed it up.

How to explain the interest of older viewers to tune into youth-oriented programming like “Riverdale” and “All American?” A plausible answer may be that the younger crowd are watching on platforms other than traditional television.

Now that the fall season is upon us and major networks are launching new series in September, we can take a closer look at The CW’s new slate of programs, all of which will premiere in the early days of October.

One of its most successful franchises, “Supernatural” ran for more than a dozen years. Now along comes “The Winchesters,” a wild-west origin story to this big hit.

Told from the perspective of narrator Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles, “Supernatural”), “The Winchesters” is the epic, untold love story of how John Winchester (Drake Rodger) met Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly).

Putting it all on the line to not only save their love, but the entire world, when John returns home from the war in Vietnam, an enigmatic happenstance sparks a new mission to trace his father’s past.

In his journey, John crosses paths with 19-year-old demon hunter Mary, who is also searching for answers after the vanishing of her father. Together, they join forces with young hunters-in-training to unearth concealed truths about both their families.

The action-packed “Professionals” follows Vincent Corbo (Tom Welling), a top-tier security operative who is paid to protect the interests of wealthy clients by any means necessary, whether legal or not.

After a next generation medical data satellite explodes on launch, Corbo is hired by the rocket’s designer, billionaire futurist Peter Swann (Brendan Fraser), who suspects sabotage.

Complicating Corbo’s gig is his former courtesan and now Swann’s betrothed, medical visionary Dr. Grace Davila (Elena Anaya), who is racing to help avert a global calamity.

As Corbo and his team of veteran security pros investigate the rocket disaster, they expose a poisonous scheme of Swann’s corporate foes, corrupt government officials, and a shadowy crime syndicate, all working to take control of Swann’s empire.

Worse, Corbo must also contend with Swann’s overindulged, mischievous teen daughter (Jazzara Jaslyn) and a rogue Europol agent (Ken Duken), who is hellbent on busting him for past sins.

Set in the late 1800s, “Walker Independence” is an origin story for the current hit series “Walker.” The new program follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara), an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered while on their journey out West.

After crossing paths with Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), a curious Apache tracker, Abby arrives in the town of Independence, Texas, where she encounters assorted free-spirited residents running from their pasts and pursuing new dreams.

Quirky burlesque dancer Kate Carver (Katie Findlay) has perhaps too keen an interest in Abby’s origins, and Kai (Lawrence Kao), a soulful Chinese immigrant runs a local restaurant and offers Abby friendship without an agenda.

Abby literally runs into Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr), a slippery rogue, thief and con artist with a dented heart of gold who quickly eyes Abby as a mark, until she turns the tables on him.

In seeking justice for her husband, Abby encounters noble deputy sheriff Augustus (Philemon Chambers), and his new boss, Sheriff Tom Davidson (Greg Hovanessian), who she has reason to believe is a very bad man.

Abby and Hoyt soon find themselves precariously aligned, both seeking to discover the truth about the identity of the person who killed Abby’s husband, and vowing to save the frontier boomtown of Independence.

“Family Law” centers around Abigail Bianchi (Jewel Slaite), a high-paid personal injury attorney who’s good at blaming others, particularly when it comes to her own problems.

After Abigail’s husband boots her from the family home because of alcoholism, she goes on a bender, shows up drunk in court and retches on a client. Suspended and fined, she can only practice law if she secures a senior lawyer willing to mentor her for a one-year probationary period.

One man inclined or foolhardy enough to take that risk is Harry Svensson (Victor Garber), the top practitioner of a family law practice, just so happens to be Abigail’s estranged father.

Conflicts arise with half siblings in the firm and a stepmother from Harry’s third marriage. An odd dynamic takes shape at Abigail’s new workplace, but the greatest challenge is working under the thumb of the man she’s spent a lifetime resenting.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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