The future of Supergirl is somewhat uncertain right now, which might come as a surprise to the many fans who heard that it had already been renewed for a second season.
Season 2 Announced. Sort Of
Back in March, president of CBS Leslie Moonves confidently announced that the network would be renewing all five of its newest shows. He told Variety:
"We have five new shows on the air. Of the five, I believe all five of them will be renewed."
This meant that fans of Supergirl, Limitless, Life in Pieces, Code Black and Angel From Hell could celebrate, knowing that their new favorites would be back next year.
However, official renewals have still not been announced, and things are starting to look rocky for one of TV's newest superheroes.
Is Kara Costing CBS Too Much?
The Wrap reported today that the main reason Supergirl's second season is up in the air is the issue of licensing fees. The character is owned by DC Comics, which is owned in turn by Warner Bros., and the network has to pay a fee to use Supergirl in its programming (along with the various other DC characters who appear in the series). At nearly $3 million per episode. It's a hefty price tag to place on a show that ended its first season to mixed reviews and a huge drop in viewership from the pilot.
Add to that the expense of effects for a show where the main character has superpowers and fights aliens on a weekly basis, and Supergirl might not be worth the cost to CBS.
The CW Solution
With only two weeks until renewals are officially announced by the network, negotiations are allegedly heating up between WB and CBS, but there is a possible solution: Move the show to The CW.
Co-owned by CBS and Warner Bros., The CW would neatly deal with the licensing issues while simultaneously bringing Supergirl home to join the other DC superhero series on the network: Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Many fans have been rooting for this since day one, and with the success of the Flash/Supergirl crossover episode last month, sending Supergirl to The CW would allow Kara and co. to become fully involved in the Arrowverse on a regular basis.
Would It Actually Work?
While many fans are thrilled at the prospect of a move to The CW, and it would certainly deal with some issues, this would still be a far from perfect solution.
- Location Changes: Currently, Arrow, Flash and Legends are all filmed in Vancouver, while Supergirl is filmed in LA. Bringing Supergirl to The CW would presumably mean moving the set up to the True North — good news for future crossovers, but bad news for cast members who might not be so keen on the commute. Calista Flockhart's character Cat, for example, was one of the bright spots of the first season — but she has a family and an established life in LA. Unlike some of the younger stars of the show, she might not be willing to spend half her time in Vancouver.
- National City: While the fictitious setting has so far appeared to be a somewhat generic, LA-type city, the locations and sets would have to change (at least a little!) should the show move to Vancouver. The constant sunshine might be hard to replicate, even if one of the benefits of the Canadian city is that it is easy to make it look like somewhere else (just ask Supernatural, which has set episodes all over the US, all filmed in BC). Still, eagle-eyed viewers would notice the difference, which could be a (minor) issue.
- Fitting Into The Arrowverse: The Flash episode of Supergirl was one of the best of the season, but it firmly established the idea that Kara's universe is entirely separate to that of the other shows. If The CW picked up the series, it would presumably want to integrate it with the rest of the programming — and that could lead to some convoluted writing to try to make it fit.
- Budget Cuts: Although a move would mean that CBS is no longer paying the same licensing fees, The CW would most likely not have the same budget for the show as CBS did. This could mean a drop in production budget, which always carries with it a potential drop in quality.
All in all, the pros might not outweigh the cons of a network move — especially with viewership dropping by almost half over the course of Season 1. The practicalities of shifting an entire show to another country could end up being insurmountable.
Can Supergirl Be Saved?
This is all still rumors at the moment, and we have two weeks to wait (at most) before learning the fate of Supergirl at CBS. According to that report from The Wrap, sources close to the show are dismissing rumors of a move — but that could be good or bad news.
At this point, there are three options for Supergirl: Remain on CBS (if a cheaper deal over licensing is struck with WB), move to The CW, or cancellation after the first season.
With CBS seemingly unwilling to take on the expense of a second season, many fans are pushing for the second option, but that could also end up killing the show. If the budget is slashed and some actors decline to move, we could end up with a shadow of the show's former self. Then again, given the drop in ratings, perhaps a major change is just what Supergirl needs.