EXCLUSIVE: There has been a change in the CW‘s plans for The Flash. Originally, the character, played by Grant Gustin, was supposed to appear in three episodes of Arrow this season — No. 8, No. 9 and No. 20, the last one serving as a backdoor pilot directed by David Nutter. Episodes 8 and 9, in which the superhero is introduced only as his alter ego Barry Allen, have already been shot. But now the CW has opted to film a traditional stand-alone Flash pilot instead of doing a backdoor pilot as Arrow‘s Episode 20. With Episodes 8 and 9 serving as an origin story, the plan was for The Flash character to make his debut — red costume and all — in Arrow‘s Episode 20. He will now do it in the pilot. The creative team remains the same, with Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and series scribe Geoff Johns writing the pilot and Nutter, who helmed the pilot for Arrow, directing. Berlanti, Kreisberg and Nutter executive produce, with Melissa Kellner Berman co-executive producing.
EXCLUSIVE: After wrapping his fan-funded Veronica Mars movie, Rob Thomas is reuniting with the film’s co-writer Diane Ruggiero for a zombie drama series project based a DC property. The CW has put in development iZombie, which Thomas and Ruggiero will write based on the characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. iZombie, from Warner Bros TV and Rob Thomas Prods, is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity. But with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories, and with the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head. Thomas and Rugierro, who previously served as an exec producer on Thomas’ series Veronica Mars and Cupid, are executive producing with fellow frequent Thomas collaborators Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.
Zombies cannot be hotter at the moment with AMC’s The Walking Dead shattering ratings records and Brad Pitt’s World War Z doing well in theaters recently. Additionally, there are three series projects about loved ones coming back from the dead: Babylon Fields at NBC, a remake of the hit French drama The Returned at A&E, and ABC’s midseason series Resurrection.
A new take on the Street & Smith pulp series The Avenger is in the works at The CW with Neal Baer and Conde Nast Entertainment, which owns Street & Smith. The untitled drama project, from CBS TV Studios where Baer is under an overall deal, is described as an updated Biopunk version of The Avenger. Written by Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab (Warehouse 13), it tells the story of Alice Benson, a young woman who, in the wake of her parents’ murder, discovers she possesses a superpower as a result of genetic bio-hacking which allows her to transform her appearance at will. Alice will use her face-altering talents to investigate the mystery of her parents’ deaths and uncover the origins of her strange ability. The original 1939 Street & Smith magazine series centered on Richard Benson, who was avenging the killing of his daughter Alice and his wife.
Catch up with the top TV stories you missed this week:
NBC To Reboot ‘Murder, She Wrote’ With Octavia Spencer Starring, Alex Cunningham Writing And David Janollari Producing
By Nellie Andreeva – EXCLUSIVE: NBC is looking to revive one of the most successful series in TV history – Murder, She Wrote — with a brand new take from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari that has Oscar winner Octavia Spencer succeeding Angela Lansbury in the lead role of an astute amateur detective.
CBS Eyes Reboot Of The WB’s ‘Charmed’
By Nellie Andreeva – CBS shows have migrated to younger skewing sibling the CW — CBS pilot Ringer became a CW series, and defunct CBS vampire drama Moonlight got a second run on the sister network.
Kurt Sutter On Extending ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Past Seven Seasons, Playing Prison-Rape Victim And Being Influenced By ‘The Shield’
By The Deadline Team – The outspoken creator and showrunner of FX’s highest-rated program ever was his usual candid self at an ATAS event tonight.
EXCLUSIVE: Former 90210 showrunner Rebecca Sinclair is back at The CW with a new hourlong drama project set in Los Angeles. Sinclair has teamed with Carol Mendelsohn Prods (The Defenders) for a period drama set in 1961 Malibu at the onset of the Southern California surf culture as well as the wave of social change that would transform America. CBS TV Studios, where CMP is under a deal, will produce. Written, executive produced and run by Sinclair, the untitled darkly comedic drama explores the lives of a motley crew of Malibu surfers — each an outsider in their own way — who had found a community of kindred spirits. The show will dive beneath the idyllic surface of beach culture, using historic events — from the civil rights and women’s rights movements to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam — to give the project a specificity. “We wanted to tell a different kind of story about the ’60s, one that explored the real events that led to the birth of California’s surf culture,” Carol Mendelsohn said. Quipped Sinclair, “There’s a Trojan horse element to this show: We’ll lure the audience in with gorgeous beaches, girls in bikinis and hot shirtless guys but then leave them grappling with big ideas.”
The CW brass appear focused on finding an Army drama to add to its lineup. Following last year’s pilot Company Town, the network is staying …
The CW has ordered three additional scripts of each of its three new fall series — dramas The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign. The script pickups come after two airings of The Vampire Diaries spinoff The Originals, one of The Tomorrow People and a week ahead of Reign‘s premiere next Thursday. (It was pushed because of tonight’s Cory Monteith episode of Glee.) They also come as the writers of the three series are completing work on the original 13-episode orders. The script orders follow solid showings from The Originals, which premiered to a solid 0.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 1.9 million total viewers in its regular Tuesday 8 PM slot this week after a launch behind TVD, and from The Tomorrow People, which logged a 0.9 and 2.7 million viewers in its debut last night (adjusted up in the finals), matching its lead-in, the Arrow second season premiere.
Along with loading up on genre/superhero series, the CW has been looking to launch medical, cop and legal franchises. Beauty & The Beast qualifies as a police drama, and the network tried out medical drama Emily Owens, …
The CW will air the 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on January 16, 2014. Nominees will be announced on Monday, December 13, 2013. The network also is broadcasting the 4th annual Critics’ Choice Television Awards in June 2014, marking the first time the ceremony will be aired in its entirety in primetime. Locations and hosts for both shows will be announced at a later date. The Critics’ Choice Awards are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Click over for the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards timeline.
EXCLUSIVE: The CW is taking on a controversial subject with ZE, a drama project centering on a transgender teenager. Written by Brooklyn-based writer-playwright Kyle Jarrow and executive produced by Michael London (Milk), ZE is described as a raw, quirky family drama about a FTM (female-to-male) teen and his family. A personal choice takes on controversial public significance when a Texas teenager announces she is transgender and will be living life as a boy. As his dysfunctional family spirals into identity crises of their own, he discovers that he might be the most well-adjusted of them all. CBS TV Studios is producing ZE, whose title represents a non-gender-specific reference (like he or she). While there have been a handful of transgender characters on broadcast series, most notably one played by Rebecca Romijn on ABC’s Ugly Betty, this is the first time a transgender person would be the lead of a primetime show. Jarrow is used to tackling sensitive topics; he won an Obie Award at age 24 for his Off-Broadway hit A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant.
EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project. I’ve learned that the CW is in negotiations for Dorothy Must Die, a drama from the Heroes trio of creator/exec producer Tim Kring and exec producers Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Written by Armus and Foster with Kring supervising, I hear the project is based on the upcoming young adult novel Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It is a revisionist take on the classic tale set in present day, 80 years after Dorothy Gale supposedly came home. In reality, the magically-ever-youthful Dorothy has stayed in Oz, presiding over a now fascist fairyland with her perfectly manicured iron fist and the help of her henchmen – the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. But when another young woman from Kansas is swept up in a tornado and magically dropped into this war-torn Oz, our hero discovers a revolutionary underground of witches and enchanted beings only to learn that she is destined to lead their people in the fight to reclaim Oz from a power-hungry Dorothy’s ruthless clutches. The book will be published by HarperTeen next April, with digital prequel novella, No Place Like Oz, available now. The property originated at James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five, with him and Todd Cohen, President of Film and Television, exec producing alongside Armus, Foster and Kring.
Dorothy Must Die, which is yet to be laid off at a studio, is the fourth Wizard Of Oz TV project sold in the past two months. It joins NBC drama Emerald City, a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones from writer Matthew Arnold, CBS’ Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard Of Oz, and Syfy’s miniseries Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story. The great interest in Wizard Of Oz is not entirely unexpected as the title has been getting a lot of attention in conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the 1939 feature, which will include a 3D re-release of the Judy Garland starrer. It also comes on the heels of the success of Oz The Great And Powerful earlier this year.