Comic book adaptations are good business these days and various shows that are based on Marvel, DC and other publisher’s properties litter the landscape from broadcast networks to basic cable and beyond. One network though that has made these comic book shows a large part of their business model, The CW, is actively trying to make sure they don’t overwhelm and turn off audiences with too many superheroes running around.
Speaking with Bloomberg, The CW’s President Mark Pedowitz said the superhero shows helped to expand their audience that once skewed 70 percent female, now it’s a lot more equal, but with recent slumps in 18-to-49-year-old viewership, they have learned there are limits to what superhero TV can do. Pedowitz said there was less competition when Arrow made it’s debut all the way back in 2012, with their own offerings growing to include The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning on the superhero side of things and not counting other comic book shows like iZombie and Riverdale.
Because of that Pedowitz said they have put down limits where they will not have more than four superhero shows on the air at any one time.
This would explain the recent news at the end of the year that Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will share a rotating Monday night timeslot. Black Lightning took over the Tuesday night spot after The Flash, so DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is on hiatus till February 12 when it will replace Supergirl on Monday nights to finish out its third season over nine weeks, then Supergirl returns to finish its own third season on April 16 through June 18.
With five current superhero shows it does seem unlikely that the network will add too much more if they plan to continue to follow the traditional fall and spring season model they currently use. If they were to use shorter seasons overall, much like cable, as well as move more series into the summer there would still be room for more shows and stay under the limit.
While Pedowitz has added limits to the shows on the network, he doesn’t see an end to the superhero adaptation arms race quite yet.
“The audience will tell you when the fatigue has set in,” Pedowitz said. “If you have a quality show or a fun show, the audience will stay with it.”