"What do you want me to say?" - Don Draper
For me, it's budget, audience, prestige. They are all interconnected. The CW could make the leap if they canceled a bunch of stuff and put all their eggs in one creative basket, similar to AMC back in the day. But if that fails, and in this entertainment -rich market environment, that's a good bet... executives loose their jobs and CW goes bankrupt. They're making a nice living where they are. HBO dominates these categories. Netflix is acting like it wants to come at the king. CW is Cheese. He's just happy to be here and hoping he doesn't get bumped off in season three.
Because it’s seen as a network for teenagers, and people love nothing more than to sneer at things teenagers like.
It doesn't help that the WB/UPN were the predecessor networks. Remember this?@Dee's on the money. They create shows primarily for younger audiences - 18–34 demographic - and those types of shows are easy targets, regardless of how successful they are. Back in the day, Veronica Mars, later followed by Gossip Girl, 90210 and The Vampire Diaries; and more recently Jane The Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Just because they don't aspire to be prestige doesn't mean they can't be very entertaining.