It isn’t surprising when we hear news that shows like Arrow and The Flash received season renewals, given how rabid the fanbases are, but somehow we’re still living in a world where CBS still hasn’t put in an order for Supergirl Season 2. The network has made decisions on the majority of its other series, but Supergirl’s fate hangs in the balance, and it looks like the cause for the delay is something that not even superpowers can help: money.
CBS and Warner Bros. are reportedly in the middle of negotiation talks where Supergirl is concerned, and though the network is on board with hosting a second season, the problem lies with the licensing fees that CBS is paying just to air the show, which is right around $3 million. That’s up there with the highest fees commanded by a freshman series in TV history, and while it might have been a feasible financial choice at the beginning of Season 1, when the premiere brought in 13 million viewers or so, the ratings have drooped ever since, particularly in the final two months of the season, where the live viewership hovered between six and seven million. Hard to make money when viewers keep leaving.
It’s absolutely a tough decision for CBS execs to make, since there isn’t much to inspire confidence that Supergirl’s audience will grow in the future. The finale, an episode that normally pulls in a bigger audience than other TV episodes, brought in less than the penultimate episode. Sure, that audience grew with delayed viewing, but not by enough to discourage worry within CBS prez Les Moonves.
As TheWrap points out, the network upfronts will have CBS in the spotlight in just a couple of weeks, so the network will definitely need to weigh the pros and cons quite heavily in the coming days. Few things are more important than advertising dollars, and Supergirl is likely a big draw for companies, despite not matching the ratings of CBS’ other major dramas, since it’s a character with international recognition.
Plus, Supergirl is now officially connected to the overall DC TV Universe, thanks to that crossover episode with The Flash, which gave the show a ratings boost that possibly helped the cause. Even if Season 2 doesn’t happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll never see Kara flying around on other shows, but it’ll be a major bummer to not see Oliver Queen and more getting a chance to visit National City in future seasons. An oft-rumored solution to this problem would be for CBS to ship Supergirl over to The CW with the other super-shows, but that would mean and even more drastic budget cut. And there are big things planned for Season 2 that will likely require as much moolah as possible.
And the waiting game continues. The silver lining is that we won’t have too much longer to wait to see what CBS decides for Supergirl. While you wait, check out everything premiering in the coming months with our summer TV schedule.