In the race to get TV viewers to tune in to its comic book properties, Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) is turning to the fastest man alive.
Earlier this week, Warner unit DC Entertainment told reporters via conference call that the Flash would appear in season 2 of Arrow before spinning off into a new show dedicated the character. Warner also has plans for a live action film. Batman? Superman? Turns out the Flash is the glue that's binding together the DC Cinematic Universe.
"He's obviously been a strong personal favorite of both [DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer] Geoff [Johns] and mine," Newsarama quotes Arrow co-creator Andrew Kreisberg as saying. "So when Greg [Berlanti] approached us and said 'Hey, what would you think if we did the Flash as a spin-off?' all of us lit up!"
Meanwhile, putting DC's scarlet speedster on TV first would allow Warner to expand the DC Cinematic Universe while building brand equity for a character that hasn't been on the small screen since 1990. Back then, actor John Wesley Shipp played the Flash and his alter-ego, police scientist Barry Allen. Warner says it's in the process of searching for an actor to play the role in Arrow and the spin-off.
The news comes on the heels of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) previewing the entire first episode of its Avengers-themed TV spin-off, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., last month at San Diego Comic-Con. I'm expecting a ratings winner when the show begins airing Tuesday nights this fall.
DC's advantage is that already has a hit in Arrow, and introducing the Flash via spin-off reduces the risk that the new show will bomb. If successful, it would be the third -- or, if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also succeeds, the fourth -- current comic book TV adaptation to play well with audiences. AMC Networks' (NASDAQ:AMCX) The Walking Dead rated highest among scripted shows airing during the 2012-2013 TV season.
Do DC's plans signal more adaptations from Warner, Disney, and others? Undoubtedly. Hollywood history says executives will push until audiences push back, which means the next prime-time TV idea is probably sitting on the shelves of your local comics shop right now.