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Why the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series ditched The CW for Netflix

Contributed by
Dec 7, 2017

The new Sabrina The Teenage Witch series is coming to Netflix, and now we know why. According to The Hollywood Reporter, both have to do with The CW's business model, which has Warner Bros. Television and CBS sharing ownership and profits of the network's shows.

Initially, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was going to be a co-venture between WBTV and CBS, but the latter wanted to put more attention into a Charmed reboot from Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin). Secondly, moving the project to the streaming service allows Warner Bros. to maintain full control of the show instead of sharing it with CBS.

"Warner Bros. is looking for any way that it can own 100 percent of their shows, and that drives a lot of decision-making there," a "top agent" told THR.

Since Riverdale is already on Netflix, the plan is seemingly foolproof, particularly since CW's executive VP of marketing and digital, Rick Haskins, said that many people who watched it on the streaming service probably thought it was indigenous to Netflix. What is more complicated, however, is the possibility of crossover between Sabrina and Riverdale, since they will be airing in two separate places and made by two different overseeing companies. The shows are cut from the same cloth, so it would be neat to see their respective universes interact, even more so since they are both darker, more mature takes on the original comics. 

Warner Bros. Television will be adapting the graphic novel Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a darker look at the character as a teenager during the 1960s, which began its run in 2014. Since Sabrina is owned by Archie Comics, the series is considered a spin-off or offshoot of The CW's hit show Riverdale. In fact, the young witch used to appear in the old Archie books all the time back in the day, especially the Little Archie titles.

The Netflix original already has a two-season commitment at 10 episodes apiece. It will be produced by the new Flash showrunner Greg Berlanti.