The primetime DC Comics universe is expanding in a comedy direction. In a competitive situation, Powerless, a half-hour single-camera comedy from A To Z creator Ben Queen and Warner Bros. TV, has landed at NBC with a pilot production commitment.
The project evokes NBC’s signature comedy series The Office, but with superheroes. Based on characters from DC Comics, Powerless is a workplace comedy set at one of the worst insurance companies in America — with the twist being that it also takes place in the universe of DC Comics. The show is about the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of superheroes and villains.
It hasn’t been determined yet exactly which DC characters will appear on the show, but I hear the list is not expected to include the biggest DC brands like Batman and Superman. The focus of the series is on the ordinary, “power-less” folk working at the insurance company who often envy the men and women outside their window who make headlines with their supernatural powers. Queen, who is under an overall deal at WBTV, is the writer/executive producer.
Comedy is a natural extension for the DC brand as there is not much room left for expansion on the drama side, with five DC Universe series on the broadcast networks (Gotham on Fox; Supergirl on CBS; Arrow, The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow on the CW) and a sixth in the works in cable (Titans on TNT).
Powerless reunites Queen with NBC where he created and executive produced comedy A To Z, also from WBTV. Previously, he created and executive produced the 2007 Fox/20th TV drama series Drive, which starred Emma Stone and Nathan Fillion. On the feature side, he wrote Cars 2 for Pixar and previously wrote Slanted & Enchanted for Warner Bros. Queen is repped by UTA and attorney David Webber.
NBC is making a push in comedy for next season. The network yesterday announced a straight-to-series order to a project from Mike Schur, a pilot order to a comedy produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock as well as pilot orders to two projects submitted through the NBC Playground initiative.