While they may not exist in the same universe, the heroes of The CW's Black Lightning and The Flash have a very important thing in common: they're dedicated to serving their communities through their super heroics. And with Election Day coming up, they're trying to serve the real world, too by taking the night off.
According to the official schedule for The CW, there will be no new episodes of The Flash or Black Lightning on November 6, Election Day in the United States. Instead, both DC Comics inspired shows will replay their premieres, giving fans an opportunity to vote without missing the shows if they happen to live in areas where the polls are open a bit later.
Shifting the schedule to accommodate Election Day has a practical benefit for the series as well. With the upcoming election considered by many one of the most important midterm elections in recent history, a lot of people will be tuning in to election coverage through the evening. It's a temporary shift in television watching habits that could have an impact on ratings, making it a practical decision to hold off a week for new episodes.
And ratings are something The CW is likely keeping a close eye on, especially when it comes to The Flash. The Arrowverse series saw lackluster numbers for the original broadcast of its Season 5 premiere and followed those ratings up with another drop in numbers last week. According to TVLine, the episode "Blocked" saw the audience dip by 21 percent, the lowest audience ever for the series. The episode also saw a series low drop in its 18-49 demographic rating score.
Black Lightning didn't fare much better, either. The series saw just 1.04 million viewers tune in live, earing the series a 0.3 rating in the demographic.
Of course, even with the shows both having a slow start in the ratings, the season is just getting started and both series have a lot more story to tell providing plenty of opportunity for improved ratings as things progress. The Flash is just getting started with this season's big bad, Cicada while over on Black Lightning, the show is only halfway into its first arc, "The Book of Consequences". It's just the beginning of the series telling a larger story, one with real life ramifications, according to Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil.
"The first four episodes are called 'The Book of Consequences, the rise of the Greenlight Babies,'" Akil said. "What that means to me is that we introduced the drug Greenlight, sort of paralleling the introduction of crack into the African-American community, opioids into the white community. So I think people can identify with that. One of the biggest stereotypes that is out there, is that all white people are rich and doing great. This season, what we want to show, and what we're going to try, and show is that, that is one of the biggest hurtful stereotypes, aside from the stereotypes of African-Americans and Latinos. That is one of the worst stereotypes, because what it tends to do is divide us. If we could find those common grounds and see that we are all sort of suffering and dealing with the same shit -- Crack, opioids, "I need a better job. I need a better school, a better education." -- So going into this new season, we're gonna debunk that stereotype. So that we can see each other. So, someone was asking me, what genre would I want to do if I wasn't doing this genre. I want to do the genre of building, of bridge-building, you know? The fact that that bridge hasn't been built, has been f---ing us up for a while now."
"When we can see each other, then we can see, oh, how much we are the same, and there is that bridge that we can walk over," added Akil's wife Mara Brock Akil, who is also a producer on the show. "TV chiefs are selecting only one type of person, or two or three types of people. All representation matters in the spirit of, we need to see everybody. We need to also see the groups of people, or the types of people, who are often left out of the narrative. I think that's why we say, Black representation matters, or LGBTQ, because these groups have been left out. Or characters who are paralyzed. It starts to grow in the fiction. They constantly get left out of the narrative, and we need to bring everybody in the narrative."
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c followed by Black Lightning at 9/8c on The CW.