|The CW Plus|
|Launched||September 18, 2006|
|Owned by||The CW Network, LLC|
ViacomCBS (via CBS Entertainment Group) (50%))
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
1080i or 720p (HDTV)
(resolution varies depending on the affiliate)
|Slogan||Dare To Defy|
(available only in smaller television markets)
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Replaced||The WB 100+ Station Group (1998-2006)|
|Timeshift service||The CW Plus East|
The CW Plus Mountain
The CW Plus Pacific
The CW Plus is the national feed of The CW, owned by The CW Network, LLC (a joint venture between WarnerMedia and the CBS Entertainment Group unit of ViacomCBS, which each maintain a 50% ownership interest), that is primarily carried on digital subchannels and pay television outlets. The service is intended for areas ranked below the top 99 television markets in the United States designated by Nielsen Media Research. In addition to carrying CW network programming Monday through Friday and Sunday in daytime and prime time, as well as its Saturday morning educational programming block, The CW Plus runs a mix of syndicated and brokered programs.
The CW handles programming and promotional services for The CW Plus at its corporate headquarters in Burbank, California (marketing services were handled through a separate division for the service until March 2008, when these operations were transferred to The CW's marketing department due to layoffs imposed by the network); centralcasting operations for the CW Plus affiliates are hubbed at the California Video Center in Los Angeles.
One of the predecessors of The CW, The WB Television Network had maintained a similar group of subscription-only affiliate stations in small- and select medium-sized markets called The WB 100+ Station Group, which began operations on September 21, 1998 and continued to operate until The WB ended operations on September 17, 2006. On February 24, 2006, one month after CBS Corporation and Time Warner announced the launch of the new network, The CW formally released a proposal to prospective affiliates announcing the creation of The CW Plus, a similar single-network feed for smaller markets - covering the same areas that were served by The WB 100+. While there was no guarantee that existing affiliates of The WB 100+ would automatically join The CW Plus, most of them (particularly subscription-only affiliates) ultimately did join the new service, and programming transitioned seamlessly from The WB 100+ to The CW Plus.
Since The WB 100+ was created before digital television was easily available in the United States, most WB 100+ stations were distributed exclusively via pay television, with a few main channel affiliations on free-to-the-air TV stations. With its launch, The CW (along with MyNetworkTV) became among the first conventional free-to-air networks in the U.S. to fully utilize digital multicasting to gain over-the-air coverage in markets that did not have enough television stations to maintain a traditional main channel affiliation (Fox, The WB and fellow CW predecessor UPN had a few subchannel-only affiliates shortly before The CW launched, however over-the-air distribution in this manner was very limited at the time). In several markets served by a CW Plus station, the current affiliate may not be the same as the prior WB 100+ affiliate. Some CW Plus affiliates are carried on a digital subchannel of a local FTA station, whereas the prior affiliate of The WB 100+ was subscription-exclusive. Certain cable-only affiliates of The WB 100+ have been replaced completely by either a subchannel or main channel free-to-air affiliation when The CW launched or joined The CW Plus only for an FTA station that managed or acquired it to begin carrying it over-the-air at some point after its launch.
As with The WB 100+, CW Plus programming is delivered through a data server network that originally digitally transmitted locally and national advertisements, promos, station identifications and customized logo bugs for each individual affiliate to headends within the master control facilities of a local station or the offices of the pay-TV provider operating the local affiliate. That was the case with The WB 100+, promotions for syndicated programs aired on The CW Plus omit affiliate references - either in the form of verbal identification or use of the affiliate's logo - in favor of network branding; the timeslot cards also only list airtimes based on Eastern and Central Time Zone scheduling, with the announcer being used to read the promo's airtime card only identifying that the program airs "[today/tonight/day of week] on The CW."
Programming is relayed to a wireless PC-based system that downloads (through a data feed distributed via satellite), stores and inserts advertising during program breaks controlled via a playlist over the satellite-delivered national feed to the individual affiliate's home market; the units also transfer program feeds via address headers disseminated to each affiliate based on their call letters, transmit advertisements and program promotions, and generate a log of ads that have previously aired. The cost of these units is partially reimbursed by The CW, with no more than 50% of the purchase cost paid by the affiliate. Affiliates sent log files of local advertisements over the Internet to a traffic management system located at The CW's corporate offices in Burbank, which handles trafficking, dissemination of the program feed and specified local insertion of advertisements and promotions to each affiliate. After The CW stopped providing support for the traffic system and commercial server in September 2009, responsibility for ad trafficking and insertion was transferred to The CW Plus' individual affiliates, although The CW continues to handle programming and transmission operations.
CW Plus stations are generally managed and promoted by a local affiliate of a larger over-the-air television station, which may produce some local programming (such as morning and/or prime time newscasts), telecasts of local sports events, or syndicated national sports broadcasts from either ESPN Regional Television or the ACC Network (or on some affiliates, from 2014 to 2016, the American Sports Network); some affiliates, however, are operated by a local cable provider.
CW Plus affiliates each have their own local branding, which is usually a combination of the CW name with either the parent station/cable franchise's city of license or a regional descriptor of the area (such as "Northland" for Duluth and northeastern Minnesota, as seen in the logo to the above left). Unlike its predecessor, The WB 100+ Station Group, The CW Plus does not use call signs used solely for branding and/or supplementary identification purposes in a widespread fashion; while many cable-only WB 100+-turned-CW Plus affiliates have stopped using fictional call signs (which were not assigned by the Federal Communications Commission, as the agency does not issue licenses to cable channels), a few have continued to use the ones they had used while part of The WB 100+ Station Group, mainly doing so merely for identification purposes in local Nielsen diary-tabulated ratings reports.
The CW Plus originally maintained a separate website featuring promotions for CW network programs, search maps for CW Plus affiliates, programming schedules customizable to an affiliate's local time zone, and still promotional ads for CW network shows and syndicated programs are seen on the CW Plus feed. In May 2014, YourCWTV.com was discontinued as a standalone website, redirecting to The CW's main website at CWTV.com. However, the websites of all CW Plus affiliates continue to be hosted on the YourCWTV.com domain, featuring much of the aforementioned content seen on the national website; as well as links to websites and social media pages operated by the affiliate or a parent over-the-air station, and links to the affiliate's contact information, advertising services and (where applicable) the main website of a parent broadcast affiliate. A separate website for the service was reinstated in September 2017, under the CWPlusTV.com domain.
Like the predecessor WB 100+ Station Group, The CW Plus utilizes a dual programming model differing from CW-affiliated stations in large and medium-sized markets. Dayparts on CW Plus affiliates with no CW programming are programmed by the network - primarily featuring programs currently airing in syndication, with syndicated film packages filling select weekend timeslots, and paid programming filling overnight and some early afternoon timeslots; this relieves the local affiliate's operator from the duty of having to acquire syndicated programming to fill timeslots outside The CW's network schedule. However, some over-the-air CW Plus affiliates may fill paid programming time with content from another subchannel network such as MeTV, This TV or Antenna TV, particularly if the network whose content is sourced does not have an existing full-time affiliate in the market (only one station, KNOE-DT3, carries The CW's most direct competitor, MyNetworkTV in the late-night paid programming slot; late-night slotting has become a common fate for that service). The operator of the CW Plus affiliate handles local advertising sales for the station, cable-only outlet or subchannel, which incorporates local commercial inserts during the CW network and syndicated programming supplied by the service.
Prior to the debut of the Litton Entertainment-produced One Magnificent Morning block on the network in October 2014, the remaining two hours of programming that fulfill FCC educational programming guidelines which were not covered by The CW's predecessor children's program blocks - Kids' WB, The CW4Kids/Toonzai and Vortexx - was also taken care of by The CW Plus. However even with the debut of One Magnificent Morning, The CW Plus continued to carry syndicated E/I programs on early Saturday afternoons immediately after the conclusion of the block, resulting in a net surplus of seven hours of educational programming each week (five provided by The CW, and two by The CW Plus) that far exceeded the three hours required at minimum by the FCC. The supplementary syndicated E/I content was reduced to a single half-hour in September 2015 (consisting solely of Elizabeth Stanton's Great Big World) and shifted to a Saturday late-night timeslot; the supplementary syndication E/I window was eliminated in September 2016, with the required educational programming now coming exclusively through the One Magnificent Morning block.
Syndicated programs broadcast on The CW Plus during non-network programming hours as of September 2017Maury, The Steve Wilkos Show, Seinfeld, Elementary, Family Guy, The Goldbergs, Cops, King of the Hill,Steve and Jerry Springer. Some syndicated programming provided by The CW Plus is substituted by the local affiliate's parent station or cable franchise operator with alternate shows if the rights to that program are held by another station in their market. Many subchannel affiliates also carry local newscasts produced by a co-managed station or through a news share agreement with another station in the same market in one or more of three designated "Live Local News Windows" (Monday through Fridays from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m., and, depending on the time zone, nightly at 10:00 or 9:00 p.m. and weekends at 6:00 or 5:00 p.m. local time). Though The CW Television Network does not carry any national news programming of its own, The CW Plus did carry The Daily Buzz, a syndicated morning news and talk program that had originally aired on its predecessor The WB 100+ beginning in September 2002 and remained on The CW Plus until September 2014 (eight months prior to the program's April 2015 cancellation).include
The CW Plus operates three separate feeds for the Eastern, Mountain and Pacific Time Zones, whose master schedules are designed to align the start time of The CW's primetime programming with the network's broadcast affiliate feed; as such, The CW Daytime and One Magnificent Morning blocks (which are designed to be tape-delayed) are aired an hour early - compared to their preferred scheduling - on affiliates in the Central and Alaska time zones. The CW Plus prime time show names are shown on The CW web site; whereas, only times of prime time shows are on The CW Plus web site.
The CW Plus has current and pending affiliation agreements with 123 television outlets encompassing 44 states and the U.S. territory of Guam, consisting of 121 broadcast affiliates (107 of which serve as subchannel-only affiliates and the remaining 17 being primary channel affiliations) and six cable-only affiliates. Counting mainly over-the-air affiliates of the service, The CW Plus covers an estimated national audience reach of 72,376,767 U.S. residents or 23.16% of all households with at least one television set.
Availability of CW Plus stations through pay television services varies depending on the provider; while CW Plus outlets are usually carried by major cable, fiber optic and IPTV providers (including multiple-system and private cable operators) in markets served by a subchannel or cable-only affiliate of the service, some rural pay television franchises that do not carry a local CW Plus affiliate via an existing distribution agreement with a broadcast affiliate or through the absence of an agreement with the operator of a cable-only affiliate carry CW stations from adjacent larger markets.
In certain markets, satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network carry stations that maintain primary affiliations with The CW Plus - and in some cases, also carry a subchannel-only affiliate of the service - as part of their local station tiers; however in areas served by a cable-only or subchannel affiliate, subscribers of both providers can only receive out-of-market broadcast affiliates of The CW (DirecTV carries affiliates from neighboring markets that have main channel affiliations with the network in some smaller markets, with the provider's designated coastal network feeds - WDCW in Washington, D.C. (or formerly XETV-TDT in Tijuana/San Diego) - available in lieu of a local or nearby affiliate in others; Dish Network provides CW programming to its subscribers in smaller markets through Tribune Broadcasting-owned affiliates WPIX/New York City, KTLA/Los Angeles and KWGN-TV/Denver, which are available as part of its a la carte superstation tier).
Since the conversion of the CW Plus feeds to a high definition schedule in June 2012, many of The CW Plus's stations have converted to carrying the high definition feed on an over-the-air signal, though it is usually transmitted in 720p rather than the network's 1080i master resolution due to technical considerations for their parent station's main network feed - except in the few markets where a CW Plus broadcast affiliate does not also have an affiliation with a major broadcast network - on their primary channel. Before that, the parent stations also carried the main CW signal in HD mixed with the CW Plus schedule to provide high definition programming from the network to local cable and satellite providers.