The CW is taking a beating from the web. According to the WSJ the fledgling network only has one more season to prove itself before at least one of it's major player's backs out.
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Its ratings during this month's "sweeps" period -- the all-important measure upon which future advertising rates are set -- are down about 22%. Advertisers eager to reach a young demographic initially clamored to sign on to the CW, but have since cooled to the network. Steven Kalb, director of broadcast media for media-buying firm MediaHub, owned by Interpublic Group, says there were high hopes for the network when last year's lineup was unveiled. Now, he says, "It has collapsed." Part of the problem is that the CW's young audience is most prone to spend leisure time on the Internet. Last winter's Hollywood writers' strike, which forced scripted shows off the air for three months, hastened the defection of viewers to the Web. Increasingly, people in the industry are asking whether this coming season is the CW's last chance. One person close to the situation confirms that without significant progress in the next year, at least one of the network's owners is likely to abandon the venture. The defection of viewers recently led the network to suspend the free Web streaming of "Gossip Girl," angering some fans in the process. After several weeks of the experiment, ratings have remained essentially flat. source