DC's Black Lightning TV Show Is Moving to The CW
Things are a little uncertain on the movie side of things with the DC Extended Universe, but the TV universe is alive and well. The CW currently has four shows in what they call they "Arrowverse" (because Arrow was the first DC Comics show they picked up). All of the DC shows currently airing on The CW have been created by Greg Berlanti and the Black Lightning series he was developing for Fox is now moving over to The CW as well.
Variety is reporting that Black Lightning, which Fox had previously ordered a pilot for, has jumped ship to The CW, who have also given the green light for a pilot. Fox decided to pass on the project earlier this week, so The CW stepped in and decided to expand on the Arrowverse, which currently consists of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. This is also the second DC Comics-based show that The CW has rescued, with Supergirl moving over from CBS after its first season.
Variety notes that, should Black Lightning wind up going to series at the network, they will be staggering their superhero shows throughout the year instead of trying to do five different nights worth of superhero shows. It wasn't clear why Fox decided to pass on the series, but the network recently committed to an X-Men series pilot from Marvel with Bryan Singer directing, so it's possible that had something to do with it. Fox already had another DC show in the form of Gotham, so it isn't likely that Marvel stepped in and requested that they ditch Black Lightning. But Fox could have decided that they would rather go with a more established property like X-Men and funnel their resources in that direction, as opposed to developing two, likely expensive superhero shows at the same time. Over the summer during the TCA press tour, CW chief Mark Pedowitz explained that the network didn't have any plans to expand on the Arrowverse, but would remain flexible should an opportunity arise. Here is what he had to say at that time.
"At the moment, we were only expecting to have four this season...At this time there's no real discussions about any other superhero characters, but one of the things about the Arrowverse...we get to see all these characters. Now, if someone pops, then you reexamine the situation, but at this time, there are no discussions with anybody else."
The Black Lighting series will center on Jefferson Pierce, who hung up the suit and his secret identity many years ago. However, his daughter, who is hellbent on justice and a star student gets recruited by a local gang, so he gets pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning. That makes the show quite a bit different than the other shows currently in the Arrowverse on The CW. The character first debuted in DC Comics back in 1977 and was the first African-American superhero to lead his own series for the publisher.
There is no word yet on casting or how soon The CW intends to shoot the pilot, but given that they already have a script and that the series was in development with another major network, it is probably pretty close to ready. The pilot was written by Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil, who are set to executive produce the show with Greg Berlanti and his producing partner Sarah Schechter. We will be sure to keep you up to date as more information on the Black Lightning series becomes available.