EXCLUSIVE: With Smallville ending its 10-season run this past May, the CW has made launching a new superhero franchise based on a DC property a priority. The network’s first effort this development season is Deadman, a drama based on the DC Comics books by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, which will be written and executive produced by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke. The project is about the spirit of a murdered man, Boston Brand, who lives on as he inhabits other people’s bodies and helps them solve crises in their own lives. It is produced by Warner Bros TV, which handles the mining of the DC catalog for TV series.

“We’re looking next year to do a superhero show if the right superhero comes to be,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said at TCA last month, noting the advantage of having Time Warner-owned DC Comics in the family. (CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros Entertainment and CBS). Getting Kripke to develop Deadman seems like a no-brainer as he is the man behind CW’s longest-running scripted series on the air. Sci-fi drama Supernatural enters its seventh season this fall and Pedowitz recently indicated that it is not intended to be the show’s last. While no longer a hands-on showrunner (Supernatural is co-run by Sera Gamble and Robert Singer), Kripke continues to serve as an executive producer.