CW Offers ‘Husbands,’ More Web Fare from Digital Studio (Exclusive)

husbands cw

Net also hopes to migrate social media fans over from once-hit shows to budding new series

Less than a year ago, the CW launched the in-house CW Digital Studio, emphasizing the net’s focus on younger, online auds and Web content.

After rolling out short-form comedy “Stupid Hype” and micro celeb newsmag “CelebTV,” CW is moving forward with a broad development slate that includes “Reno-911”-meets-”X-Files” comedy “P.E.T. Squad,” and migrating popular Web seriesHusbands” over to the CW digital platforms.

“ ‘Husbands’ has been a critically-acclaimed, user-friendly YouTube series for two seasons,” said  Rick Haskins, exec veep of marketing and digital programs at CW. “By bringing that to the CW, we hope to bring new fans over to the network and to CW broadcast shows as well.”

A borrowed equity strategy like the one employed with “Husbands” is the name of Haskins’ game at the network. The CW understands that when building an online following, it must tap into pre-existing fan bases in order to transition viewers over to the digital platforms.

“Stupid Hype,” the CW’s first show to be launched through CWD, cast “Hart of Dixie” star Wilson Bethel for the shorts, hoping to draw fans from his broadcast series over to CWTV.com. The net also offered on-air ad spots promoting “Stupid Hype” and “CelebTV,” encouraging viewers to hit the Web for digital content.

Previously announced digital shows including toon series “Gallery Mallory” are also hoping to capitalize on CW broadcast programs’ rabid, young fan base, casting Misha Collins (“Supernatural”), Justin Hartley (“Smallville”) and Kat Graham (“The Vampire Diaries”) in the shorts.

“What’s great about these actors is that they’re highly social, and we’ll be able to post, say, that ‘Gallery Mallory’ episode on our ‘Vampire Diaries’ Facebook page and have Kat tweet it out,” Haskins explains. “People can then watch their favorite stars appear in a new series.”

For now, CW is pleading the fifth when it comes to digital metrics, taking a Netflix-like approach to what data is released. While the net says that around 20% of its broadcast show viewership is accounted for with digital auds, CW has no plans to release raw viewer numbers from its digital platforms anytime soon.

In the social media space, CW is working to move its bank of Facebook fans on now-defunct shows over to newer skeins. “Gossip Girl,” for example, ended its run on the net last year, but still has over 13 million Facebook likes, and tens of thousands of active participants on the page — a serious commodity in the social media space.

“We’re working right now with Facebook on a prototype,” Haskins says. “We were some of the first people that came to Facebook and posed this problem. We’re in a beta test to see how we can migrate, say, ‘Smallville’ Facebook fans to ‘Arrow’s’ page, ‘Gossip Girl’ to ‘Carrie Diaries’ and some ‘Smallville’ fans to ‘Beauty and the Beast.’”

Also on CW’s digital radar is a retooling of CWTV.com, after the launch of Web series last year proved to be confusing on the site’s layout. Net will be creating a specific vertical to silo all digital content and offer greater ease of navigation for viewers.

And don’t count on viewers as being the sole migratory party in the CW digital mix; Haskins sees broadcast potential for numerous CWD digital properties.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this: to use it as an incubator,” Haskins notes. “I can’t pick from all of my children, but I can say some are better looking than others. We have three strong potentials of moving over to broadcast. And, even if they don’t, I’m finding new talent and storytelling that may translate to a writer coming up with a new series.”

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  1. This is WONDERFUL news, indeed! Thank you for reporting on CW’s decision to migrate “Husbands” to it’s digital platform. I for one will be a devout “Husbands” fan brought over to CW precisely because it recognized the excellence of this series. With top-notch writing, acting and production, this series will bring it’s current fans to CW while gaining a broader audience from CW viewers. Husbands and CW: a marriage made in digital heaven.

  2. Go Beau Go says:

    My Daddy and I are gonna be super stars on CW! woof wooooooof

  3. Best news I’ve heard in a long time. Can’t wait for more Husbands – the sweetest and funniest web series I’ve seen. Jane Espenson and Brad Bell are such talented writers and the whole cast and crew of Husbands is top notch!

  4. Sheri says:

    I’m excited to see Husbands picked up by CW Digital. The writing, acting & directing are all excellent, and the premise is a fresh take on a well-loved theme. Yay for Husbands and season 3!

  5. Markus Wilcox says:

    Is really great to get more of Husbands. It was one of my favorite web series, and I’m glad I’ll be seeing new episodes.

  6. Roger Whitaker says:

    I’m so glad to see Husbands is being picked up by CW digital. Hopefully, it will also be picked up by the CW television network as well. I need to see it on my TV!

  7. nicoleT says:

    I’m so glad to hear we will be getting more of Husbands!! Best news ever! Really love it!!

  8. Rand Medley says:

    I LOVE this series. I want to see a new episode every week. I can’t wait to see more. Congrats everyone. How exciting.

  9. Kathy Heilig says:

    How refreshing that you picked up this fantastic series! Cutting edge topic, casting and writing. I don’t even know what channel CW is on my TV, but that is about to change. Well done!

  10. EmilySuydam says:

    Congrats to the Husbands cast/crew! It’s an amazing series, now even more people can fall in love with the series. I can’t wait for more Husbands in the future =D

  11. Cierra Wilson says:

    More Husbands? Yay!!! Can’t wait. :) (now I suppose I just have to hope that the CW website lets me watch season 3 in Canada…)

  12. This is wonderful news. Smart choice CWD! I’m totes excited to have more Husbands. I can’t wait to see what season 3 will bring.

  13. Yay for Husbands! I love that series so much! Very timely.

  14. Husbands on the CW! Good deal!

  15. RiverVox says:

    So glad that Husbands is getting the recognition it deserves!

  16. This is fantastic news!! Husbands is a great series that more people need to see, and that I want to see more of! Thanks CW!!

  17. Karin says:

    This is great news! I love Husbands and can’t wait to see more!

  18. Nina says:

    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CAST AND CREW OF HUSBANDS!!!! Give me a date for new episodes and I’ll be there with bells on (and I say that as someone who doesn’t really watch TV).

  19. Pao says:

    As a Smallville fan I’m tired of the CW trying to throw Arrow down our throats, we get it, is Green Arrow BUT not our version of the character. Watch a show with the same sets just slightly changed is also not helping. I tried to like the show but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The CW should stop posting things from Arrow in Smallville facebook is annoying!

    • JC says:

      Get over it dude. Arrow is the second highest rated show on The CW. They’re not going to change anything just because you don’t like it.

  20. A fun and clever show. Looking forward to more of the series.

  21. abigail says:

    How about picking up The LA Complex for the summer again? I know it’s been cancelled but it’s never too late…

  22. anna says:

    This is great news. Husbands is a fun series, really well written and acted.

  23. sdljroller says:

    Husbands is such a fantastic series. I know that having a comedy series with fleshed out gay characters is highly overdue.

  24. This is fantastic news! Now more people will have the opportunity to enjoy this sweet and funny series.

  25. SO EXCITED FOR HUSBANDS!!!! I used to be addicted to CW programming and it looks like I have a reason to devote my time and attention back to them! :)

  26. Rosie Clark says:

    This is wonderful news! I can’t wait to watch the continued adventures of America’s sweethearts Cheeks and Brady! Congratulations to the CW for knowing real entertainment when they see it!

  27. I’m thrilled by this news. I can’t get enough of Husbands!

  28. Rae says:

    So excited to see Husbands getting more and more recoginition. I can’t wait to see it on the CW!

  29. Allia says:

    Love!!!! So excited about this. :D

  30. So happy to hear this news! The timing couldn’t be better! Congrats!

  31. tuke18 says:

    This is great news!! The more exposure for Husbands, the better. I’ve been a fan since day one, so this is very exciting! Thank you!!

  32. CW has made a wise choice in deciding to pick up Husbands!!! It is such a wonderful series. I’m so happy for cast and crew on this show. All their hard work finally paying off.
    Hooray for more Husbands!

  33. Gotta say this is a smart move for the CW! Husbands is genius, pure and simple. I can’t wait for more!

  34. Ian Richey says:

    That’s awesome!! I love Husbands and I can’t wait to see more! Nice one, CW!! Great news for such a great series!

  35. Bryant says:

    A great idea! Finally, forward thinking, quality television!

  36. Lex says:

    This is great! I love Husbands, it’s a perfect pick for this platform!

  37. endywood09 says:

    This is the news we’ve all been waiting for!!! So very exciting and thrilling for the wonderfully talented creators and for us fans. Great day!

  38. That is so awesome! Congrats to the entire cast!

  39. DearBecky says:

    So glad to hear the news that CW has recognized the value of “Husbands ” and is in including it! I am a fan of Brad Bell ! @GoCheeksGo !

  40. Terry says:

    Very excited to read this news.

  41. DearBecky says:

    So glad to hear the news that CW has recognized the value of “Husbands ” and is in including it! Ian a fan of Brad Bell ! @GoCheeksGo !

  42. plumcomm says:

    This is fabulous news. CW, you’re ahead of the curve and at the head of the class. Congrats to the cast, the crew, the viewing audience and CW.

  43. audreywilmot says:

    This is an amazingly funny and fun show
    And it’s time has come. Love Husbands
    How about we get rid of some trash TV ie
    Hillbilly TV and start bringing fun and laughter hope and change into America televisions , it’s long over due

  44. veronica gray says:

    THAT is so awesome!! I would love to see ‘HUSBANDS’ on CW! We need more really GREAT shows! Two thumbs up!!

  45. This, good people, has MADE MY YEAR!!! “Husbands” and the CW – now that’s a pairing I will most definitely get behind… Consider me one of the many existing fans whose attention you’ve now successfully garnered. Goal accomplished! This show has held my heart since it was first aired online two years back. I’ve recommended it time and again – and will gladly keep doing so with the news of this partnership with CW Digital. Congrats to the CW, Brad Bell and Jane Espenson. Excellent news for all.

  46. Fnlynn says:

    Husbands is one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. I laugh harder watching this show than I do watching any other. Jane Espenson is a brilliant writer, and Brad, Sean and Alessandra are hilarious. This show is gold- the CW made a smart move here.

  47. raepat says:

    This is awesome news. Can’t wait for the new episodes of Husbands. Just heard we can purchase the hard version of the comic too. I am also watching the DOMA drama unfold from Canada and hoping for the best for my neighbours to the south :) Equality for all!

  48. Cindy says:

    Congratulations everyone at Husbands!! This is well deserved!! Can’t wait to see what you do next!!!

  49. Sue Bullock says:

    I have loved every episode of “Husbands”!! Great series-fresh, funny & great actors. I’m thrilled CW is doing this. Very smart move!

  50. I am super excited about Husbands being recognized for the groundbreaking material it is. It is timely and really hits the kind of things that I want to watch.

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