Right now there are plenty of super hero television shows and movies. This plethora of entertainment should be enough for any fan of the genre. The problem is, a lot of it is spread out amongst competing companies. Whether that be different television networks or movie studios, it stifles the one true thing that can bring fans in- crossover events. That is why I am posing the simple question of is having super heroes from the same universe/brand on different networks is good for business or bad for fans? This article plans to tackle this question based on DC Comics properties.
Right now, CBS’s Supergirl is supposedly on the fence of cancellation with the network. There are rumors that it could be moved to the CW, a subsidiary partnership between CBS and Warner Bros. The CW is the home of a few other DC Comics related super hero properties such as the Flash and Arrow. This would put three DC Comics properties on one network, possibly creating a “DC Super Hero Night” each week with all three shows airing new episodes one after another. Course, there is one big name property from the DC Comics library that is not here.
Right now there is no “Batman” drama on television. There is Gotham which is more about the early years of Batman and the villains he faces as an adult. Gotham also focuses on a young James Gordon who is having hell on the job within the Gotham police department. Gotham also airs on the Fox Network. Not a CBS affiliate, subsidiary or anything of the nature.
That means, as Gotham picks up steam we are likely to never see a Flash, Arrow or Supergirl crossover with Batman and his world. Why?
Think about it, Fox owns the rights to whatever Gotham is for Batman (is it an origin show or what?). CBS/Warner Bros are holding the rights to Flash, Arrow and Supergirl on two networks now. Do you think either network is going to allow the characters from their shows appear on another network? Nope.
While there is little chance this will hurt any of the shows mentioned it does raise a good question worth asking. Is this good for business or bad for fans or could it be both?
While there is likely little chance of Flash, Arrow or Supergirl playing a big part in a Batman origin series, or vice versa, it sets a dangerous precedent. What will happen when/if Superman gets a similar television deal on a competing network, then Aquaman or Wonder Woman? If you have all of these characters on different networks does anyone think there will ever be a “Justice League” show?
What happens if Fox has the rights to air a Batman show while the CW has the rights to Flash and Arrow then say, NBC gets Wonder Woman and for whatever reason, Disney gets Superman? Do you really believe that any of those companies will allow a team up show on another network? Nope. Even if they did, how would referencing the character show work? Would the network airing Justice League reference content from another network’s show? Would those networks allow referencing Justice League on another network?
If one network had all of the accompanying character shows it would be little problem to launch a Justice League show. If the characters that make the group up are on Fox, CBS, NBC and maybe some cable channels, it is only going to block fans from seeing something they want.
I have to say, having the characters from DC Comics on several, non-affiliated, networks is a bad deal. We experienced this a bit with Fantastic Four and the rest of the Marvel universe in theaters, now we prepare to see it all over again on television. In the end, fans lose.
Update 5/12/2016- Supergirl season two is coming to The CW.