While the flood of comic TV shows such as The Flash, Arrow, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is entirely welcome, it does hold the potential to cause scheduling conflicts for viewers, resulting in split loyalties and therefore a potential decline in viewing figures.
Case in point; Gotham and Supergirl. Both DC series, Gotham and Supergirl will be pitted against one another in the Monday night at 8pm slot when they air this fall. Gotham will begin its season 2 outing on Monday, September 21 @8pm on Fox. Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated Supergirl, starring Melissa Benoist, will premiere on Monday, October 29th on CBS. The first episode will air @8:30pm, but subsequently shifts to 8pm for the rest of the season.
Despite competition from Gotham, which already has an established and loyal fanbase, Supergirl executive producer, Greg Berlanti, remains confident that there is room on the viewing schedule for both shows. Speaking at the Warner Bros. A Night in DC Entertainment panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2015, Berlanti pointed out the massive change in viewership habits over the last few years, most notably the rise in DVR.
“I think so many people I know watch stuff the night of, but watch one thing that’s an 8 o’clock show at 8, then another 8 o’clock show at 9. You know, there’s so many different ways and there’s so much competition anyway just to be in TV that you just have to really make the best show you can and then hope that everybody that’s meant to be shows up for it.”
Berlanti chose his words carefully. Though Gotham is essentially the competition in terms of ratings, both are of course DC properties, and he made sure to not comment on the quality of both shows, possibly in an attempt to diminish the idea that the already established Gotham could pose a threat to Supergirl garnering those all important viewer numbers, especially if people choose to watch Gotham at 8 and then Supergirl on another occasion.
“I’ve been against enough things with shows that I thought, ‘oh, we’re doomed,’ but the show worked, or conversely, I thought, ‘oh, this is gonna be a cakewalk,’ and then the other show trounced us. So I really think that a lot of times both things can work. If they make a great show—which they do—and we make a great show than I think we’ll both be okay.”
Certainly with the advancement of streaming services and DVR, TV habits are changing massively. There is no longer the frantic, urgent rush to be home at a certain time to catch your favorite show anymore. Now, if you find yourself unable to tune in at a set time, the DVR will pick it up for you. Alternatively, streaming services like Hulu Plus offer the opportunity to watch shows like Gotham, Arrow, and The Flash the day after airing.
As for Supergirl, the hype already surrounding the show should be enough to ensure that people tune in live or on the same day - at least initially. Whether that will hold for the duration of the run, or whether viewers will consider their interest piqued and return to Gotham or other shows in that time slot, remains to be seen.
Gotham will air from September 29 @8pm on Fox. Supergirl will air @8:30pm on CBS on October 29th, and @8pm each Monday thereafter.