It’s ‘Supergirl’ vs. ‘Gotham’ for Ad Dollars This Fall

Supergirl Gotham TV Advertising
Courtesy of CBS/Fox

Superman and Batman aren’t slated to square off until 2016, when Time Warner launches a big movie centered on their fight. Until then, fans might want to check out a different superhero contretemps.

Among a burgeoning slate of programs concerned with superheroes, Madison Avenue expects CBS’ “Supergirl” and Fox’s “Gotham” to duke it out Monday nights this fall for the audience most coveted by advertisers: young people who don’t skip past the commercials. According to a Variety survey of primetime commercial-ratings projections by three big media-buying shops, “Supergirl” is expected to eke out a lead of a mere tenth of a point over the Fox drama in so-called “C3” viewership among audiences between 18 and 49 years of age.

The upshot: “Supergirl” is expected to be the superhero series most likely to land the greatest number of ad-watching viewers in the coming season. “Gotham,” which depicts life in Batman’s hometown in the years before the superhero comes upon the scene, will  give the show a run for its money, however. Below, the TV series slated for the 2015-2016 season based on comic-book or superhero concepts and their projected “C3” ratings among audiences between 18 and 49 (each 18-to-49 ratings point in the 2014-15 TV season was the equivalent of 1.269 million adults):


  • “Supergirl,” Monday, CBS, 8 p.m., 2.46
  • “Gotham,” Monday, Fox, 8 p.m., 2.36
  • “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” Tuesday ABC, 9 p.m. , 2.09
  • Marvel’s Agent Carter,” Tuesday, ABC,  9 p.m., 1.89
  • “The Flash,” Tuesday, CW, 8 p.m., 1.48
  • “Heroes Reborn,” Thursday, NBC, 8 p.m., 1.41
  • “Arrow,” Wednesday, CW, 8 p.m., 1.05
  • “I Zombie,” Tuesday, CW, 9 p.m., 0.89

Projections were not available for “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” a superhero anthology series slated to debut on CW in 2016.

The battle will not start right away. “Supergirl” won’t be spotted in TV skies until well into the 2015-16 season. CBS will run “The Big Bang Theory” and freshman series “Life in Pieces” in the 8 p.m. hour until CBS completes a multiweek run of NFL football broadcasts on Thursday night. Once the football ends, the two sitcoms will move to Thursdays and “Supergirl” could rise.

Like the superheroes they depict, the series seem able to change the course of mighty rivers. Many TV programs are projected to lose some of their “C3” audience year over year. But the superhero programs are proving to be something of a bright spot in a difficult media landscape. The ad-buyers surveyed by Variety see increases in “C3” viewership for “Gotham,” “SHIELD,” “Agent Carter,” “Flash” and “Arrow,” compared with projections made for the 2014-15 season approximately a year ago.

One thing the superhero dramas are not is invulnerable. “Supergirl” may win more commercial-viewing audiences than “Gotham,” but media buyers expect both shows to be handily defeated in their Monday-night timeslot by NBC’s “The Voice,” which is projected to snare a bigger “C3” viewer pool. And Fox’s reboot of “The X-Files” is seen gaining more “C3” viewers than “Supergirl” among freshman series.

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  1. Since when are young people considered less likely to skip the commercials? It’s older people who usually don’t’ know to handle a DVR or a Mute button.

    People as young as me and younger will be spending the commercial breaks Live Tweeting if we’re watching it live at all.

    • Brian Steinberg says:

      It’s not that younger people are less likely to skip, it’s that advertisers want people between the ages of 18 and 49 who actually watch the ads. That’s the basis of C3 and of the projections used in this story

      • Why? CBS and Fox never advertise for anything a young person would buy? The Major networks besides CW which barely qualifies as major are pretty only old people shows because only old people still have Neislen boxes.

  2. jaketo says:

    I couldn’t really get into Gotham after the first few episodes, but I heard it’s gotten better so I might give it another shot. I’m definitely looking forward to Supergirl. I think Melissa is adorable and the pilot hit a lot of the right notes for me – good action, likeable characters, some interesting villians and setup for future episode. It has the same cliche cheesy formula as the Flash, but I don’t mind that so much as long as we get good classic superhero adventures.

  3. neighbles says:

    supergirl beating out gotham? LOL! LOL LOL LOL! what a hilarious joke that is. supergirl is going to tank and tank very hard, while gotham is chugging along to a 3rd season. melissa benoist has all the charisma of a rock, and the giggly tone of the show is going to turn off every single male viewer in the entire United States.

    • SW says:

      Actually Melissa is an incredibly lovely and talented actress. In fact it was in Variety that placed her No 1 as actors to watch. So how can you say she has no charisma? She’s not trying to be the silent lonely girl. The Flash has got plenty of giggly tones and that hasn’t put off men from watching it.

  4. Ms. K says:

    Gotham all the way. Supergirl looks lame and the character seems annoying.

  5. adam says:

    why would anyone wanna watch supergirl? the trailer looked like crap. i hope it fails

    • SW says:

      It’s trolls like you that make it near impossible for a show like Supergirl to thrive. Why would you say that? Is it because it has positivity and not dark, misery and depressing like so many other shows.

      • adam says:

        a troll? ha. your really funny. the trailer that was release made the show looked like crap. if you like badly done shows with bland actors and bad stories then go for it, . there are plenty of better super hero shows on like Arrow, Flash and Gotham. go troll elsewhere

  6. Rod says:

    Big sophomore slump predicted for Gotham which won’t make it to season 3. Supergirl will debut to very respectable ratings but fall to earth in no time. I just don’t no what CBS’ tolerance is for low ratings but I suspect Supergirl will move to the CW by season 2 and CBS can claim that they tried to offer relevant programming for a younger audience and failed.

    • SW says:

      Sorry but I’m not the one who said and I quote “I hope it fails” so how does that make me a troll? I don’t tell people what they should watch or like. I’m simply saying I’m a fan of Supergirl and the producers have said they are trying to make a positive show that has some resemblance to the 1st Christopher Reeve movies.

  7. jimmy woo says:

    I’ll be watching Gotham.

    Boycott Supergirl with it’s race change of old favorite characters.

    • Lamashtar says:

      Its just Jimmy Olsen, who was always icky to begin with. No one cares.

    • SW says:

      And what is wrong with Mehcad in that role? It’s 2015 and actors can and should play any character they are cast as. After all in Smallville Pete Ross was played by Sam Jones and there have been loads of white actors that have played different nationalities eg – Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger.

  8. cdhaskell says:

    It will be interested to see which show will be most DVR Supergirl or Gotham.

    • Joseph Lee says:

      So 2015, a white actor should portray Blade or the Cyborg? Maybe a slightly overweight Asian girl with an accent should have been cast for the CBS Supergirl (Take out “Danvers”, and Supergirl’s name would be “Linda Lee”)? Oh, just imagine the fury from the internet crowd.

      Jimmy Olsen is a much more iconic and endearing character than Pete Ross or Perry White. His signature features (ginger hair, freckles, boyish charm) goes away when a well built black man plays the role.

  9. SW says:

    No matter how many rude comments I’ll probably get after this – I’m really mega excited for Supergirl this fall. I think Ali Alder, Andrew and Greg have a good vision for the series and what is wrong with a female lead superhero show with positivity? i know many have not liked the pilot but don’t go jumping the gun so soon.

    • Mary says:

      I’m looking forward to Supergirl. Never been a big fan of Batman, but then Gotham is just the city he protects and in the show he’s just a kid.

    • jimmy woo says:

      Don’t bother with Supergirl. You’ll be wasting your TV investment time. It won’t last. Gotham is a serious show. You’ll love it.

      • Lamashtar says:

        “tv investment time” Someone takes this too seriously. Gotham started losing me after they made Fish Mooney a victim. Zero interest in that.

      • Stan says:

        @Jimmy Dead on, its a great show, Jimmy speaks the truth…

      • Senna Silva says:

        Gotham is a pretty terrible show though.

      • SW says:

        I will bother with it because I’m a life long Supergirl fan and want nothing more but for the series to be a smash hit. After all it is so long overdue for a female lead superhero show. Yes I know Batman has a huge fan base but there is plenty room for both shows and fans.

    • Cindylover1969 says:

      You won’t get any rude comments from me. I have no interest in the New Adventures of Fox and Dana, but I’m looking forward to Kara.

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