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Confirmed: Dawn Ostroff Expected to Exit CW

Dawn Ostroff
Dawn Ostroff

The CW entertainment president Dawn Ostroff is expected to step down at the end of the season, according to sources with direct knowledge of her thinking.

A formal announcement is not expected to come until after next month's Television Critics Assn. conference in Pasadena. Ostroff’s contract is up in June and network sources say she has informed both CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves and Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer that she will likely leave the position. There is no discussion of a replacement yet. 

Ostroff, who is among Moonves’ long-serving executives, has been weighing a move for some time. Her husband, Mark Ostroff, an executive at Lazard Wealth Management, has been bicoastal, shuttling between New York and Los Angeles for several years. But recently his job necessitated a full-time base in New York. A few weeks ago, say multiple network insiders, Ostroff was in New York looking at schools for her four children.

For now, Ostroff will continue to lead the CW, which will launch a new unscripted series, Shedding for the Wedding, in February. She’s also looking at pilot scripts and plans to address ad buyers at the network’s upfront presentation in May.

Ostroff has led the CW since its inception in 2006 as a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Prior to that, she ran UPN and Lifetime.

The CW has achieved modest success, becoming a destination for women 18-34 with cult hits including Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Smallville. This season, the network launched Nikita and Hellcats, both of which have received full-season orders, helping to boost the net 7% year-to-year.

A CW spokesman declined comment.