With all of the major networks hosting their upfront presentations next week, many are already getting a head start, issuing series orders from their pilot slate. The CW is one such network, announcing today it has issued a series order for their highly-anticipated Black Lightning series, although it hasn't been announced if the show will arrive this fall, or if it will be held for a mid-season debut. This show marks the fifth DC Comics series from producer Greg Berlanti, following Arrow, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, the later of which moved to The CW last season after debuting on CBS.
TV Line reports that both Black Lightning and another series, Life Sentence, starring Lucy Hale, were given series orders. This news came just two days after the network canceled both Frequency and No Tomorrow after just one season apiece. The CW today also handed out renewals for both iZombie and The Originals for their fourth and fifth seasons respectively. The rest of The CW's superhero lineup, Arrow, The Flash, DC's Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl have already been renewed for next season, so it will be interesting to see what the network will do with five DC Comics TV shows on the air.
The first African-American DC Super Hero to have his own stand-alone comic title, Black Lightning is based on the character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden in 1977. Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other 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. The cast includes Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce and Christine Adams as Lynn.
This superhero TV series was first put into development at Fox, but when the network dropped the show, it was quickly picked up by The CW. There were reports that the network would try to stagger all five of its DC Comics shows, if Black Lightning were given a series order, which would likely mean saving at least one or two shows to debut in midseason, instead of airing one superhero show a night. The CW was originally airing four nights of DC programming, with Supergirl on Monday, The Flash on Tuesday, Arrow on Wednesday and DC's Legends of Tomorrow on Thursday, all airing at 8 PM ET on their respective days. However, in mid-season, The CW moved Legends of Tomorrow to the Tuesday, 9 PM time slot.
Black Lightning was created by Salim Akil, who also directs the pilot episode and executive produces alongside Mara Brock Akil, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. The CW holds their upfront presentation on Thursday, May 18, so it's possible that we may get to see the first trailer, photos or artwork from Black Lightning then. Fans already got their first look at Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce in March, when production got under way in Atlanta, but we'll have to wait and see if the first trailer arrives next week for Black Lightning.