‘Supergirl’s’ Super Ratings: How Hit CBS Debut Stacks Up to Comic Book Competition

Monday’s series premiere lands between “Gotham” and “Agent Carter” in key demo, but flies above all among total viewers

Photo: Bonnie Osborne

CBS’ “Supergirl” proved last night that it’s able to leap comic book TV adaptation debuts in a single bound.

The new Melissa Benoist drama premiered to a big 3.1 rating in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic, per final Nielsen national numbers. Among total viewers, the show was even more powerful, drawing a whopping 13 million audience members.

For some added perspective, in the superhero genre, those figures place “Supergirl” below the demo debuts of ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in 2013 and Fox’s “Gotham” in 2014.

In total viewers, however, “Supergirl” soared above all comic book broadcast starts since 2011. Not bad at all, especially considering how tough it is to draw live viewership these days when compared to even a few years ago.

“Supergirl” had a few things working in its favor, beyond the character’s X-ray vision.

For starters, it followed “The Big Bang Theory,” which is TV’s biggest comedy by far. Plus, premiering somewhat late in the fall gifted creator Greg Berlanti‘s new show with very little urgent-to-view competition. (Ironically, “Supergirl” tied Berlanti’s NBC offering — “Blindspot” — as top new series demo debut this fall.)

That doesn’t mean last night was a cakewalk, though. After all, “The Voice” — “Blindspot”s’ own lead-in — still gets excellent Live Plus Same Day viewership. And the NBC reality show really gave “Supergirl” a run for its money last night before ultimately falling a bit short. We guess Adam Levine just isn’t faster than a speeding bullet.

Here’s how broadcast comic book shows have premiered in the key demo since 2011:

1. “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (ABC, Sept. 2013): 4.7
2. “Gotham” (Fox, Sept. 2014): 3.3
3. “Supergirl” (CBS, Oct. 2015): 3.1
T4. “Marvel’s Agent Carter” (ABC, Jan. 2015): 1.9
T4. “The Flash” (CW, Oct. 2014): 1.9
6. “Constantine” (NBC, Oct. 2014): 1.4
7. “Arrow” (CW, Oct. 2012): 1.3
8. “iZombie” (CW, Mar. 2015): 0.8

And here’s how they fared among total viewers:

1. “Supergirl”: 13 million
2. “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”: 12.1 million
3. “Gotham”: 8.3 million
4. “Marvel’s Agent Carter“: 6.9 million
5. “The Flash”: 4.8 million
6. “Constantine”: 4.3 million
7. “Arrow”: 4.1 million
8. “iZombie”: 2.3 million

Of course, the biggest comic-based show of them all isn’t even on broadcast TV. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and now prequel “Fear the Walking Dead” regularly do super-villain levels of damage over on cable.

Additionally, “Daredevil” has supposedly been doing quite well in the streaming space, but Netflix notoriously withholds viewership numbers.

The small-screen space is set to get even more capes in the near future: “Lucifer,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist,” “Luke Cage,” “The Defenders,” “Wynonna Earp,” and “Preacher” will debut across broadcast, cable and streaming in the near future.

Only time — and perhaps, Nielsen — will tell which will fly and which will perish.