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April 22, 2024
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DC’s ‘Superman’ Movie Is to Blame for CW’s ‘Superman and Lois’ Cancellation

DC’s ‘Superman’ Movie Is to Blame for CW’s ‘Superman and Lois’ Cancellation

Superman & Lois
Katie Yu/The CW

It looks like DC’s upcoming Superman: Legacy film is to blame for the cancellation of The CW’s Superman & Lois.

According to CW president of entertainment Brad Schwartz, Warner Bros. ultimately decided that the small-screen Man of Steel should hang up his cape to make room for the James Gunn–directed movie, despite the fact that Superman & Lois is The CW’s second-most-watched program.

“They don’t want a competing Superman product in the marketplace,” Schwartz told The Wrap in a February 16 interview. Superman: Legacy is set to hit theaters sometime in 2025.

Starring Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch in the titular roles, Superman & Lois premiered in February 2021 and serves as one of four scripted shows continuing on with The CW following Nexstar Media Group’s acquisition of the network in October 2022. The shortened 10-episode season is currently set to premiere alongside All American: Homecoming sometime in fall of this year. (All American and Walker are slated for spring 2024 premieres.)

“The business we inherited lost a lot of money. Maybe it did very well for Warner Bros. and CBS, but the actual business itself lost money,” Schwartz told The Wrap of the reasons behind the shift in property. “That’s not anyone’s fault. That was the model.”

While most of The CW’s lineup faced cancellations last year, All American and its sister show, Homecoming, have consistently ranked as the most-watched series in adult demographics. Walker and Superman & Lois rank as the network’s biggest in terms of total audience, which is what earned them each a renewal.

“We can’t keep losing the amount of money we were on the shows,” Schwartz continued. “Very collaboratively, everyone got together and we pushed these four shows forward.”

Despite Superman & Lois’ final season reportedly seeing massive budget cuts, Schwartz promised that fans will be pleased with how the story ends.

Superman & Lois
Colin Bentley/The CW

“I watched the first episode last night, and it’s going to make you cry,” he teased, adding that the premiere was pushed because the series would ultimately be “wasted” in the summer season. “So let’s put it in the fall where we can sell it in the upfronts, and we can really, really talk about it.”

Moving forward, The CW will be shifting into more unscripted content, but Schwartz noted that if scripted programs continue to bring in strong ratings at their current cost, then “there’s no reason why you wouldn’t keep doing them.”

Superhero shows, however, likely won’t be seen on future slates. In May 2023, Schwartz noted at network Upfronts that while the genre was a “hallmark” of the network for a long time, they are no longer “working on a linear” when it comes to profit.

“Superman & Lois, creatively, is very strong,” he said. “It does well in broadcast, it does well in digital … but it’s expensive [and] doesn’t make money for us. And we don’t have the rights to the prior seasons. You need to have a library [for people to find a show] … and the prior seasons are [on Max].”

As for Superman: Legacy, the film will mark the launch of DC Studios CEOs Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DC Universe and will see David Corenswet replacing Henry Cavill as Superman. Rachel Brosnahan will portray Lois Lane, Skyler Gisondo will play Jimmy Olsen, Nicholas Hoult will appear as Lex Luthor and Anthony Carrigan will be Metamorpho. The movie will follow the titular superhero as he reconciles his alien heritage with his life on Earth.

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While viewers will be taken back to the earlier days of Superman’s story, Safran clarified in January 2023 that Legacy isn’t classified as an “origin” film.

“It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with his human upbringing,” Safran explained to The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “He is the embodiment of truth, justice and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.”

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