Fall TV: Why Batman Will Vanquish The Flash, Green Arrow and Constantine

Fox Upfront Scorecard

As most comic-book aficionados know, Batman has no super powers. Yet he will muster enough energy to trounce super-speedster The Flash, the flamboyant Green Arrow, various agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and mysterious magician John Constantine in at least one TV-ratings race this fall.

According to a Variety survey of commercial-ratings projections from four major media buyers, Fox’s freshman Batman-themed drama “Gotham” is expected to garner more “C3” ratings than any other comics-themed drama on the 2014-2015 broadcast TV grid.

The buyers expect “Gotham,” to secure an average 1.93 “C3” rating among viewers between 18 and 49. That compares with a 1.8 for ABC’s Tuesday-night drama “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”; a 1.66 for its companion “Agent Carter”; a 1.33 for NBC’s Friday-night drama “Constantine”; a .96 for “The Flash,” on Tuesdays on the CW; and .93 for the third season of “Arrow” on Wednesdays on CW.

“Gotham,” Monday, Fox, 1.93
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Tuesday, ABC 1.8
“Agent Carter,” Tuesday ABC, 1.66
“Constantine,” Friday NBC 1.33
“The Flash,” Tuesday, CW, 0.96
“Arrow,” Wednesday, CW, 0.93

Nielsen estimated a single ratings point in the 2013-2014 season was equivalent to about 1,269.600, and is expected to revise its estimates upward for the next season.

Presence of the five dramas in the coming TV season serves to illustrate the desire TV networks have for fans of super-heroes and science fiction, who tend to be quite fervent in their ardor for such stuff and are willing to talk about their favorite programs in social media and digital milieu. Some of this may be stoked by the intense ratings for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” a drama about a zombie apocalypse that beats most broadcast-network fare in the 18-to-49 viewership advertisers say they covet, and which is also inspired by a comic book series. Other content players are also moving in on the genre. Netflix has unveiled plans to run four different series in 2015 based on Marvel super-heroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and “Iron Fist.”

Given the CW’s success with super-hero programming in the past – think “Smallville” – one might think “The Flash” would gain more traction come autumn. “’The Flash,’ like ‘Arrow’ will very likely bring in some additional viewers to the network,” said Billie Gold, vice president and director of buying and programming research at ad-buying shop Carat. But those new eyeballs will likely come from the fervent niche of people who are fans of comics. “If critics praise it, it may even get an additional bump and get better than average sampling, but will likely settle in to projected numbers within a few weeks. CW viewers in general are the demo who are also more likely to use the internet to stream program content, and that often takes away from their TV viewership levels,” she added.

At 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, “Flash” also has headier competition, taking on both “The Voice” on NBC and “NCIS” on CBS – both ratings stalwarts. For its part, “Gotham” is the only drama in the 8 p.m. timeslot on Mondays, playing opposite powerful sitcoms “Big Bang Theory,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Mom” on CBS; “The Voice” on NBC; and “Dancing with the Stars” on ABC. “Constantine” is likely to get fewer viewers in the 18-to-49 demo because of its Friday-night perch.

Program ratings continue to capture the bulk of attention from the viewing public and TV executives, but advertisers look elsewhere. Since May 2007, sponsors and ad buyers have instead used the number of viewers between 18 and 49 who watch a particular show within three days’ of its on-air debut — and don’t skip the ads – as the basis for their TV purchases. The measure, known as” C3″ (or commercial ratings-plus-3), became part of negotiations between networks and their advertisers as increasing use of DVRs eroded viewership of programs, as well as the commercials that interrupt them.

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  1. ingord says:

    and this’s why Nielsen is irrelevant now days!

  2. Karen Lin says:

    “Smallville” for Batman. That’s what it’s goint to be. And I’m not sure I like that. I would actually prefer it if it was just about the cops, a “Gotham Central” sort of thing. Something like CSI/Law & Order: Gotham City. Like this, it’s about Batman and it isn’t. I’m going to watch it, but I’m skeptical.
    I would like it if they connected the tv shows to the movies, but I understand why they don’t. Just because Marvel/Disney is doing it, it doesn’t mean that WB has to do it. There’s more than one way to make things work.

  3. What Batman show? The whole point of this flawed show is that it’s Gotham before Batman arrived, and the star of it is a young James Gordon. Bruce Wayne is still a young kid in this; hence my lack of interest, and my continued observance of DC & Warners laziness, being unwilling to create a shared universe that spans both film and TV, like what Marvel Studios does. They want it both ways, with multiple versions of their characters everywhere.

  4. Will you stop calling “Gotham” a Batman show – it has zero Caped Crusaders, and I think is risking franchise fatigue. He’s not as bulletproof as people think, just ask Joel Schumacher … or Clooney … or Kilmer.

  5. Jacques Strappe says:

    I’ve only seen the clips and promos for Gotham. It looks as if it is going for the Nolan film version atmospherics: dark, moody and humorless. While this might work beautifully for a 2 hour film, I suspect it will be more of a challenge to attract a large enough audience who will come back.each week. While the batboy take might also be problematic, I think the unrelenting serious, dark procedural tone might be its worst enemy.

  6. big daddy D says:

    “Mysterious magician” Constantine?? Do you even know/have any concept of who John Constantine is, Mr. Steinberg?? Maybe you should do some research, or Google Constantine on Wikipedia. That would help your inaccurate article.

    • Brian Steinberg says:

      I do know who Constantine is, big daddy,and in fact collected his comic for more than a decade. he is mysterious and he does use the forces of the magic and supernatural to make his way in the world…..

  7. rastamouse says:

    “This is a show for people who love everything about Batman except Batman”
    “You know the part of every Batman movie that’s so boring, they skip over it? Now that’s a series” “We’ll get to see the Dark Knight’s testicles descend every week.”
    Jimmy Kimmel on Gotham

  8. Mickey says:

    How can “Batman trounce” the other superheroes when Batman does not appear in Gotham? Also, it’s Ratings 101 that you can’t compare ratings across networks, especially when comparing the CW “netlet” to the “Big Four.” If the Flash and Arrow were on FOX, with access to its audience pool, brand and budget, they could well trounce the Batman-less Gotham. After all, critics are raving about Flash and Arrow.

    • Lex Walker says:

      I was about to say that myself. Way to compare ratings between a major network and the CW. Sensationalism.

  9. I am going to Give this show a chance.. Really like the actor playing the Main character.. However.. A batman Show set in the “batman” world with no.. Bat..Man…? I hope it surprises us all.

  10. Joe Wilkins says:

    I kind of doubt Gotham will see a second season, can’t wait for the third season of Arrow, maybe he will get flamboyant in the coming season, haven’t seen that happen yet. And, I think the Flash just might beat Arrow. Good thing we live in the 21st century. I’m not allowed to receive CW, watch it online instead and network scheduling doesn’t mean a thing anymore.

  11. AB says:

    * Third season of Arrow, not second.

    If Arrow or The Flash were on Fox (or one of the other, bigger networks), they’d probably kill it in the ratings.

    Unless they were on NBC. NBC would find some way to screw it up, I’m sure.

  12. Sharon Lynn says:

    “Fall TV: Why Batman Will Vanquish The Flash, Green Arrow and Constantine”, except there is no Batman in the show as they have warned us all along, soooo….
    As usual these articles are silly, trying to pit shows against each other like its a war. Arrow is my favorite drama on TV right now but I will try to catch Gotham on demand. The real problem is Fox has an itchy trigger finger and may panic if the ratings are less-than-assumed. They may need time to let it build. This is a different look at Batman’s world, it may take time for casual fans to get used to it.

  13. Carlo Irwin says:

    The thing I hate is all these so-called experts trying to judge and predict a show before it even airs. I will admit that those in charge don’t seem to know what they are doing most of the time. Many times I have seen a show air that had no business being on the air in the first place and then it gets canceled. What happened to finding an excellent story, casting it correctly and putting it in the hands of people that know what they are doing? I hope all the new shows do well. The only problem they will have is if they don’t live up to predictions. i.e., they say a show should open with 1.2 million viewer and it only gets l million; they say it is a flop. Why don’t we let the audience judge the shows?

  14. Ward says:

    why does it matter what shows a show is up against. Who watches live anymore. DVR baby. And Gotham looks like it is going to make the same mistake Agents of Shield and not have any super characters. If they use Batman villians, it will be good. If they just try to make it about non-comic characters and Gordon, they lose. That is why Arrow is so good, they use major characters and even drop cameos (like the Harley Q insertion).

    • Derp says:

      It has the origins of all the villains, and the villains have always been more interesting than Batman. Plus the approach worked for Smallville, which had a less interesting setting to begin with. Ultimately it comes down to whether or not a show is good. Plenty of successful shows without any superheroes at all. Agents’ problem was the beginning was unsteady and lacking the balance of humor, action and drama the people involved are known for. Once that was amended the second half of the season, the show was much more highly regarded without shoving in a bunch of super heroes.

  15. John Varian says:

    This is why people hate Batman….. why do people always have to pit him against and compare him to any other superhero show or film thats around? Im loving the green arrow show especially how its using the flash as something to team with and expand on rather than to compete with.

    Im hoping arrow, the flash and gotham are all great and that agents of flash continues to improve

  16. Dave says:

    Once people realize that Gotham has little to actually do with Batman, viewership is most likely to dwindle. It’s essentially a cop show that takes place in Gotham with a few origin stories of some of Batman’s villains, whereas the others are actually programs about superheroes. As for Constantine, it looks too good for NBC to keep on air. They have a tendency to cancel good shows before they have a chance to gain traction. Prediction: Both Gotham and Constantine will be one-and-done seasons.

    • Derp says:

      They haven’t made a secret of that. The show is for people more interested in the villains.

    • Ken Woolard says:

      I couldn’t agree more. To say Batman is gonna compete with Flash and Green Arrow is dumb. This is a Pre-Batman Gotham. It will be lucky if it makes it to the end of the first season

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