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How to Watch The CW

Your favorite Netflix show probably came from The CW—here’s how to get it from the source.

The CW, a joint TV network venture between CBS and WarnerMedia (the “C” and the “W” of the name), has been broadcasting since 2006 and is carried by over 200 local TV stations in the US. The network currently airs over 25 younger-skewing series, including Riverdale, Batwoman, and Superman & Lois. But it’s not all comic-book fare.

If you’ve binged shows like Charmed or Dynasty on Netflix, you may not be aware they originated at The CW. Which is common, since CW series usually reach more viewers through on-demand streaming than old-fashioned broadcast TV (as mentioned above, The CW’s audience skews younger and online-er).

If you don’t want to wait for series from The CW to show up months from now on Netflix or HBO Max, CableTV.com is here to show you all the ways to catch them first.

Best cable providers for The CW

Price Channels (including The CW*) Details
$49.99–$89.49/mo. 140–220+ View plans
$25.00–$69.99/mo. 75–250+ View plans
$74.99–$124.99/mo. 210–420+ View plans
$44.99–$89.99/mo. 125–200+ View plans

* Availability varies by area. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If there’s a local TV station in your area that carries The CW, it will most likely be available in your cable or satellite provider’s channel lineup.

Best satellite providers for The CW

Provider
DIRECTV
DISH
Price Channels (including The CW*) Details
$64.99–$134.99/mo. 160–330+ View plans
$59.99–$94.99/mo. 190–290+ View plans

* Availability varies by area. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If there are no CW stations near you on cable or satellite—which is possible, because The CW’s distribution is a bit limited—there are still plenty of ways to watch.

Best live TV streaming providers for The CW

Price Channels (including The CW*) Details
$64.99/mo. 100+ View plans
$54.99–$60.99/mo. 70+ View plans
$64.99–$134.99/mo. 65–140+ View plans

* Availability varies by area. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Live TV streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and DIRECTV STREAM all carry The CW, either through local TV channels or by next-day video-on-demand from The CW.

This means, if the service doesn’t feature a local CW channel in its lineup, you can still add CW shows to your DVR list and episodes will show up in your library in 24 hours or less after broadcast. The only downside of this VOD approach is un-skippable commercials within the episodes.

Get The CW with an antenna

Want to watch The CW live for free? With the one-time purchase of a digital antenna, you can receive your local CW station (and many others) via over-the-air broadcast for no extra cost. Check out our Best Antennas for Cord-Cutters review.

Best streaming apps for The CW

Price Details
Free Get app
Free Get app
$8.99–$17.99/mo. View plans
$9.99–$14.99/mo. View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The CW’s website and on-demand streaming app, like some of the live TV streaming services, release the latest episodes of its shows the day after broadcast—for free, with ads. The CW app/site carries just current series, and it only makes full seasons of some shows available.

For full seasons of older CW series, as well as shows from other networks, CW Seed is another ad-supported free app/site worth checking out. All four seasons of acclaimed CW action series Nikita are there, as are both seasons of ABC’s cult favorite Pushing Daisies.

Recent seasons of CW shows can be found on-demand on Netflix (like Riverdale, Black Lightning, and Supergirl) and HBO Max (like Batwoman, Stargirl, and Katy Keene). HBO Max also carries the entirety of older CW series like Everwood (four seasons), the original Gossip Girl (six seasons), and improv show Whose Line is it Anyway? (17—yes, 17—seasons).

Final take: The CW is fun (and free)

By now, you’ve probably realized those shows you’ve been obsessing over on Netflix actually originated on The CW years ago—so why not go to the source? The CW is easy to get, whether through traditional TV outlets like cable or satellite, or streaming, or a good old-fashioned antenna. In most cases, you won’t even have to spend a dime on a subscription.

But, if you’re in the middle of a 15-season binge of Supernatural, stick with Netflix—it’s the only place you can stream Sam and Dean.

How to watch The CW FAQ

How can I watch The CW for free?

Without a cable, satellite, or live TV streaming subscription, you can watch The CW’s current shows for free on the CW app or website the day after they air on broadcast TV. You can watch older shows from The CW and other networks for free on the CW Seed app or website.

You can also watch any local TV channel that carries The CW with a digital over-the-air antenna.

Is The CW on Hulu?

In some areas of the country, Hulu + Live TV carries local affiliate channels of The CW. In the rest, Hulu + Live makes CW content available the day after airing (as do YouTube TV and AT&T TV). But, The CW’s shows aren’t available on demand through standard Hulu—you’d have to stream them through Netflix, HBO Max, or The CW app/site.

What shows are on The CW?

The CW currently airs over 25 series, both in-house productions and acquired foreign shows (usually from Canada). Here’s a sampling of The CW’s 2021 roster:

  • All American
  • Batwoman
  • Burden of Truth
  • Charmed
  • Coroner
  • Dynasty
  • The Flash
  • In the Dark
  • Kung Fu
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • Outpost
  • Penn & Teller: Fool Us
  • The Republic of Sarah
  • Riverdale
  • Roswell, New Mexico
  • Stargirl
  • Supergirl
  • Superman & Lois
  • Walker
  • Wellington Paranormal
  • Whose Line is it Anyway?
  • World’s Funniest Animals