Sunday night saw the return of Batwoman on The CW, with Javicia Leslie taking over the lead from former star Ruby Rose. The debut of Leslie in the role, however, was only watched by 663,000 viewers, giving the series a 0.1 rating for the night. This is down from the average amount of viewers for season one episodes, which is around 995,000, and down slightly from the season one finale, which received 740,000 viewers.
Despite the relatively low showing for Javicia Leslie’s debut on Batwoman, this isn’t the lowest turnout for an episode of Batwoman. The eighteenth episode of last season, “If You Believe in Me, I’ll Believe in You,” received only 640,000 viewers, while the lowest amount of viewers comes from the seventeenth episode, “A Narrow Escape,” which only received 630,000 viewers when the episode debuted in April of last year.
It also should be said that Sunday night also featured Tampa Bay facing off against New Orleans in the NFC Divisional Playoff game, with sports often messing with the overall expected ratings and viewership for other shows. Comparatively, the NFL playoff game received 28.81 million viewers with an 8.0 rating. With the exception of 60 Minutes on CBS reaching a 1.1 rating, no other show that aired during the game received higher than a 0.6 rating for the night, although Batwoman was certainly the lowest in viewers during this period.
Also, The CW’s shows usually receive fewer viewers than networks like NBC, CBS, Fox, and ABC. For example, The CW’s show in the 9 PM slot, All American Stories, received a 0.0 rating, with only 180,000 viewers. In The CW’s 2020-2021 season ratings, Batwoman was the eighth most-watched series on the network. The show’s most popular show last season – Supernatural – only received about 1.062 million viewers on average, or a 0.3 rating.
It will be interesting to see what Batwoman’s ratings look like when the football season has ended, especially considering many shows don’t even try to compete with Sunday night football. The CW has also pushed many of their shows due to pandemic filming concerns, so Batwoman is one of the few major programs that The CW is currently airing. Could Javicia Leslie’s takeover in the lead role end up averaging at about the same level as the show when Ruby Rose was the lead? Quite possibly once the Sunday night ratings are a bit more normal.
With Supergirl and Black Lightning both scheduled to end after these final seasons, The CW will be relying on what superhero shows they have left. The CW still has Batwoman, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl, but with Supernatural now over, these superhero shows are more integral to the success of the network than ever. A network cannot survive on Riverdale alone.
While Batwoman had a strong start in the first season, the show has continuously fallen since then. The CW often struggles to keep up with other networks, but this is a sad start to the new season of Batwoman.