FOX’s “Gotham” will have a slightly longer run that most new shows do out of the gate. The network has picked up 16 episodes for Season 1, three more than the standard 13 for a freshman series.
“That’s No. 1, a comment on how strongly we feel about it — we were only contractually obligated to order 13 and we ordered 16, FOX Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly says. “We think that’s the way that show, at least in its first iteration, will be very strong to arc to.”
There’s a chance that, if it does well, FOX will add more episodes to the order, but that’s a decision for later. “That show’s going to have a very strong serialized element, and because they’re off to such a strong start … we’ll size that up,” Reilly says. “But 16 felt like the right amount.”
“Gotham” is a prequel to the Batman story focusing on James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and his relationship with a young and newly orphaned Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Because there has been so much anticipation for the series — and because “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” had a somewhat underwhelming first half of its season — Reilly admits to some trepidation about the show living up to its hype.
“This is conjecture on my part, but I think they struggled to find the creative footing on [‘SHIELD’]. Also, those weren’t the actual franchise characters,” Reilly says. “‘Gotham,’ I think you should look at the pilot when it’s available and you’ll see it’s very, very sure-footed creatively. The concerns [of] will this live up to its promise were put to rest when I saw it a month ago. I’ve also looked at written material, the series bible … we have a staff now, and they’re generating [stories]. It really feels like it knows what it is.
“The real selling point to me on ‘Gotham’ right from the get-go was that these are the actual series franchise characters,” Reilly adds. “It is the prequel story, these are stories never told, but the Penguin, Commissioner Gordon, Bruce Wayne, the Riddler — there are characters we created out of whole cloth. Jada Pinkett-Smith’s character is a new character, and you’ll see [more] characters like that. But the tentpoles of the world are the characters we know and love. I’m feeling very good about where we are with ‘Gotham.'”
“Gotham” will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT Mondays in the fall on FOX. The network’s full fall 2014 schedule is here.