ABC and The CW are currently the pillars of Superhero Television, but that will all be changing soon, as Supergirl will be flying into CBS. (Not to mention Netflix’s upcoming Marvel slate.) Considering CBS co-owns The CW with Warner Bros., it was somewhat surprising that the youth-oriented Supergirl was snatched up by the more mature network, but it is clear that CBS is ready to enter the superhero game, and they think that comic book TV is ready for them.
CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler was on hand at the TCA press tour talking all things Supergirl, according to EW, and she explained the high-rated network’s motivations behind taking this show for themselves.
“I think we’re watching an evolution with regard to the way that superhero characters are portrayed. There’s a humanity. They’re flawed. There’s a relatability. For our network right now, what we did respond to was the character’s humanity, the other characters in the show as well — the story trajectory and the character’s arc and growth. These are all things that made her just imminently relatable, and made the story exciting. We made a decision based on the pitch that we heard.”
All of those traits listed do make me more confident in this project in general, and having Arrow and The Flash creator Greg Berlanti behind it is a definite source of comfort. (It is amusing that she cites the evolution of hero portrayals as a factor.) Though it will feature a serialized overarching storyline, Supergirl will be a crime procedural, something that will feel right at home on CBS. And Tassler also talks about how Kara Zor-El’s story is one of female empowerment, and is representative of the strong women characters that are also familiar to the network’s fans.
Far be it for me to put words in anyone’s mouths, but it seems far more likely that CBS is getting in on Supergirl because they’re aware of the mega-fanbases that Arrow and The Flash have brought to The CW, and they want to see if they can build on that with their already massive primetime audiences. It’s no surprise CBS series skew higher when it comes to their biggest age demographics. Supergirl will definitely attract younger audiences to the network that CSI just couldn’t possibly bring in these days. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more youth in the viewership, either. Supergirl just needs to be exciting enough to keep those audiences.
Another way to make Supergirl a ratings monster would be to bring Arrow and Flash over for a crossover event, something The CW president Mark Pedowitz is open to doing. Tassler, however, isn’t so keen on the idea at this point, saying, “That’s a different network so I think we’re going to keep Supergirl to ourself right now.” Bummer.
I guess we’ll see what kinds of audiences tune into Supergirl when it hits CBS presumably later this year.