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As The CW has changed its financial model under new ownership Nexstar, entertainment president Brad Schwartz is relying more heavily on international co-productions from countries like Canada. Speaking Tuesday at the Banff World Media Festival, Schwartz, a Canadian native, acknowledged that Canadian acquisitions have often been less appreciated by U.S. broadcasters in the past, but he hopes that perception will change.

“I don’t want anyone to think Canada is a cheap country, because that’s our Canadian personality first and foremost,” Schwartz said. “Canada has the advantage of having some great broadcasters that have a lot of money to invest in Canadian content. And then there are tax breaks and our American dollars go further here. I think historically, maybe people haven’t respected Canadian content as much. And maybe a little bit of that is still in the background. I personally have tried to change that, out of personal ambition.”

Schwartz pointed to shows like “Schitt’s Creek” (which he developed and aired on Pop TV), “Letterkenny” and “Orphan Black” as some of the recent Emmy-winning and award-worthy shows to come out of Canada.

“If I’ve been fortunate enough or ambitious enough to build the relationships and be the one to really dive in and bring that content to the world, that makes me proud,” Schwartz said. “But we at CW don’t have the budget that CBS, NBC or Netflix have. We can only spend so much. We’ve been able to do a lot of great deals with Canada and maybe we’ll just sneak in before anyone else.”

The CW’s Canadian co-productions include “Wild Cards,” “Sight Unseen,” “Sullivan’s Crossing,” “Son of a Critch,” “Children Ruin Everything” and “Run the Burbs.”

“We like to make fun of the writing team, who sometimes feel like we have more Canadian connections now than American ones because we’re so entrenched in the public eye,” said Saleena Lockett, executive director of scripted programming at The CW. “But it’s been great to experience a different market and have even more access to creative people. The way you do things here, even on a creative level, actually gives us access to a lot more projects than we sometimes get in America because the system is so strict and we can get our hands on so much.”

The difficult part, Schwartz said, is setting the shows in a neutral environment — so that Canadian audiences might recognize places like Vancouver, but U.S. audiences don’t feel like they’re missing the local references. (He compares the vague specificity of “Schitt’s Creek” in Canada to the “everyman” feel of Springfield on “The Simpsons.”) “We want to make sure there’s a broad entry point for every moment, where everyone feels like this is a place they can be, understand and experience,” he said.

Schwartz added: “I think Canadian content can compete with anything in the world today. They’re incredible shows and we’re just happy and glad that we’re the ones who got them, but I certainly wouldn’t call them cheap stuff. We’re just saying we’re a little bit ahead of the pack.”

Schwartz pointed out how difficult it is to compete for shows given The CW’s limited budget, pointing to a BBC series that recently hit the market, “The Good Girls’ Guide to Murder.” Schwartz said, “We bid on it. We were very close to the number we could afford. And Netflix blew us away. We weren’t even close.”

Schwartz said The CW still hopes to air between 10 and 12 series – but to do so, all of those series will need production partners. And in addition to Canada, that currently includes deals in Australia and the UK.

“We still have big ambitions to do a lot of scripted shows,” he said. “But it’s hard for us to do shows on our own. So the co-production route is really the only way for us to do scripted shows.”

As another example, he highlighted the new show “Good Cop Bad Cop,” a drama about Leighton Meester (from Future Shack Entertainment and Jungle Entertainment) involving Roku (with the second time slot), Australia’s Stan and the UK’s ITV, which owns distribution rights outside the US and Australia.

“And then, as I said, we decided to shoot in Australia and now we have government funding. We get tax credits, you get foreign exchange,” he said. “You have to love it first, you’re not just doing it for the deal. And then we have to go that extra step and think really creatively about how we get the finances together. That’s going to be the case with all of our scripts. Canada will always be the first place we go for all the reasons we’ve discussed.”

One genre the CW is now spending more money on is sports. That started with the network’s deal for LIV Golf, which he called “a very opportunistic opportunity.” “Our local stations are really hungry for sports. We never thought we could afford that. And then a regional sports network went out of business and suddenly we got a really great deal for ACC football and basketball. That’s when we started to see the results of all that. Then we wrote a very big check and got into the NASCAR business.”

Since then, The CW has also signed deals with WWE and secured the NFL Films series “Inside the NFL,” where he hinted that a new host will soon be joining Ryan Clark.

“Sports has been the biggest driver of new viewers for us,” he said. “I think you’ll see more sports on CW, not less.”

Schwartz said upcoming plans include a pre- and post-show for NASCAR. The CW also has the rest of the Pac 12 teams. “There will be days where we have three football games in a row,” he said. “So we’re thinking about building a small studio so we can go game to game and have something of a home base. All of that is in early discussion.”

When asked about The CW’s acquisition of Max’s “F-Boy Island,” which didn’t work out for the network, Schwartz admitted he was “devastated” by it. “It didn’t do well on linear, was a flop on our AVOD, and it’ll be fine with the foreign distribution revenue,” he said. “But it wasn’t the breakout I was hoping for.”

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