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The CW's Black Lightning Gets Hart of Dixie Star in the Lead

By Brian Gallagher — February 24th, 2017

A few weeks ago, we reported that producers Greg Berlanti and Mara Brock Akil were moving their DC Comics TV series Black Lightning from Fox to The CW, which means there are plenty of crossover possibilities with the network's current stable of DC shows. Now that the show has found a proper network home, the show has shifted into casting mode, with Cress Williams signing on to play the title character, a.k.a. Jerfferson Pierce. The casting brings Cress Williams back to The CW two years after the network canceled Hart of Dixie, which he starred in alongside Rachel Bilson and Jaime King.

The Hollywood Reporter broke this casting news, although no further details were given about the character or the series as a whole, other than what has already been announced. The series will center on Jefferson Pierce, who hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago. However, with a daughter hellbent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he'll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.

Black Lightning was one of DC Comics' first major African-American superheroes, making his debut in 1977. In the comics, Jefferson has two daughters, both of whom become heroes in their own right. Anissa Pierce becomes known as Thunder, who eventually joins a superhero group known as The Outsiders, while Jennifer Pierce becomes Lightning, who is recruited by the Justice Society of America. It isn't known if either of these characters will be featured in the TV series, but the Justice Society of America has already been established on another CW series, Legends of Tomorrow. The network frequently crosses over between their DC shows, so it's possible that Black Lightning may eventually join the JSA.

The Game creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil will executive produce alongside Greg Berlanti and his Berlanti Productions partner Sarah Schechter. The initial report revealed that Warner Bros. Television had been working on this project for well over a year, with various different incarnations being developed before it was ready to be shopped to networks. If Black Lightning does go to series, it will join The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and iZombie, along with Fox's Gotham and Lucifer as part of DC's TV slate.

Cress Williams is perhaps best known for playing Lavon Hayes in all four seasons of The CW's Hart of Dixie, but he has been a mainstay on other hit shows as well. The actor has had recurring roles on shows such as Nash Bridges, Providence, Veronica Mars, Close to Home, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Prison Break and Friday Night Lights. He currently recurs on CBS' Code Black, and he will be seen on the big screen later this year in Lowriders, hitting theaters May 12. Hopefully we'll get more casting news for Black Lightning soon.

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