CW’s ‘Reign’ Streams Racy Episode for a Network TV First

In what’s believed to be a first for a broadcast network, the CW this week presented two versions of its first-year drama “Reign.”

On Thursday, “Reign” aired an episode that met broadcast standards, while a “too hot for TV” version was streamed Friday morning on the CW website.

News of the two versions of “Reign,” first reported Wednesday night by Entertainment Weekly, likely contributed to the show’s better-than-usual ratings performance Thursday on CW. The on-air cut averaged 1.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen, the show’s largest audience since mid-December. It also matched its series high among women 18-34.

In the episode, two sex scenes were cut for containing content that was ordered removed by the network’s standards department, but what viewers did not see on the broadcast version of ‘The Consummation’ are to be seen in the more sexually intense director’s cut online.

This experimental strategy has no streaming data available at this time, according to CW’s senior VP of network communications Paul Hewitt.

Hewitt said, “There are no immediate plans to do more directors’ cuts, but certainly would consider more in the future.”

“Reign,” which follows the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots in 16th century France, was renewed earlier this year for a second season.

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