With four superhero shows on the go for Warner Bros Television, Greg Berlanti is going to be a multiple visitor to the Hall H stage tonight. His Arrow and Flash are both making return visits to the WBTV late night mega-panel and freshmans Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl will be joining their DC Entertainment brethren there too. Adding to his confab presence, the EP also has mystery thriller Blindspot here at SDCC this year ahead of its September 21 premiere on NBC and feature Pan.
Just before Saturday evening’s WBTV event and a morning panel for the Jaimie Alexander starring NBC series, Berlanti chatted about the CBS debut of the cousin of the Man of Steel, continuing crossovers and some super time slot competition.
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DEADLINE: CBS and WBTV have high hopes for the debut of Supergirl later this fall but are you worried about possible caped cannibalization with the new show going to head-to-head on Mondays with another WBTV series, Season 2 of Gotham on Fox?
GREG BERLANTI: I just think the landscape is always going to have competition for everyone, and that’s the environment we’re in now. Look, I very much enjoy Gotham, and I would watch both shows. I think that there’s so many ways for people to enjoy their programming these days, so, for me, you have to focus on making the best Supergirl you can and then hope that you find your audience. I also think as each year sort of proves, if you have two really good shows on against each other on the same night they don’t have to catabolize each other’s audience. In this case, both shows originate from the DC universe but they’re quite different and my sense is they’ll both live very successfully.
DEADLINE: In the Supergirl pilot, there’s reference to a role model for daughters as well as a very deft discussion about the positive power of the word “girl.” Was it important for the show to address the fact that a female superhero has her own series and leading role?
BERLANTI: The studio, the network, and two of the women I make the show with, Sarah Schechter and Ali Adler, all felt is important that the show definitely touches on the dialogue. Also, just based on all the men, and women, we have who worked on the show, and just anecdotally from the moms, and dads, who come up to me and tell me how important it is to them.
From my own two cents, I feel like it’s important that we address those things because it’s always important to try to figure out a way, narratively, to talk about what the audience is going to be talking about. Hopefully, then there’s an even more intimate relationship between the show and the people who are watching.
DEADLINE: The Supergirl pilot was shown here on July 8 on Preview Night before Comic-Con officially opened and it is being shown tonight in Hall H. What are your expectations of the reaction?
BERLANTI: I’m always excited for more people to see it because then they can make their own minds up in terms of whether or not it lives up to their expectations and hopes. With Supergirl, there were people in the beginning who jumped right on board when it was announced and other people who were more suspect and waited for us to “prove ourselves,” with the show. Also, as we’ve seen with Flash and with Arrow, one of the nice things about television is you can always keep deepening the characters.
DEADLINE: Speaking of deepening characters, last year’s Arrow and Flash crossovers brought a deeper sense of the DC Universe to the small screen. CW boss Mark Pedowitz said at the upfronts this year that there’ll be more crossovers to come and the new show Legends of Tomorrow will be part of that to, so what the plan?
BERLANTI: We’re trying to make that an annual thing, at least with Flash and Arrow. We’ve just been breaking into it over the last week or so actually, what that crossover would be this year, so we’re, really, excited about it. We’ve got a great story lined up for towards the end of the fall, early winter. This year our real hope is to make a crossover that’s even bigger, and even more rewarding for the audience than the last years.
What I really like about the crossover is it ends up making all the shows feel like there’s truly a universe that all these characters are operating in. Hopefully with Legends we’ll find a whole other segment of the audience as well to add to that. Legends will be very different from Flash, which was very different from Arrow.
DEADLINE: One thing that is similar in several of your shows is casting actors who have either played the role before or have a strong previous connection to it, like Lois & Clark’s Dean Cain. Why do you like to do that?
BERLANTI: It’s fun. It’s one of the real nice benefits of doing the job that you get to work with people like John Wesley Shipp, and Mark Hamill, and Dean Cain, and Helen Slater. Part of the fun of making these things is actually that we’ve enjoyed other incarnations of them. So, it’s part homage and it’s part a celebration of the property, and a celebration of the characters. With Dean and Helen in Supergirl, we have some good storylines for them this season too.
DEADLINE: As we have the WBTV panel this weekend at SDCC, Saturday is also the big Warner Bros big screen presentation in Hall H with Batman Vs. Superman and more expected like the Pan feature you produced. So can we expect some crossovers between the small and big screen DC superheroes worlds soon?
BERLANTI: That is a question for Geoff Jones and Kevin Tsujihara, and it’s a good question. But I will say, I think a few years ago when we started with Arrow we never would’ve thought we’d be able to sort of participate in helping bring all these kind of characters to any kind of screen whatsoever. And the world has just totally blown up since then, and all sorts of cool things have come as a result of that. So, right now, we’re just going to keep focusing on trying to make these shows and to getting a chance to introduce these characters to a new generation of people – we’ll see where it takes us.
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