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Fox Nabs ‘Black Lightning’ DC Superhero Drama With Pilot Production Commitment

Black Lightning, the big DC drama package with Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl) producing and Mara Brock Akil & Salim Akil (The Game, Being Mary Jane) writing and producing, has landed at Fox with a pilot production commitment. It was a quick sale for the drama from Warner Bros TV and studio-based Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions, which was taken out late last week.

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Written by the husband-and-wife duo of Akil and Brock Akil based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce. He made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hellbent on justice and 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.

Akil and Brock Akil executive produce with Berlanti Prods.’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

Pierce aka Black Lightning was one of DC Comics’ first major African-American superheroes, making his debut in 1977. In the books, Jefferson has two daughters, both of whom have followed in his superhero footsteps: Anissa Pierce, aka Thunder, who is a member of the Outsiders, and Jennifer Pierce, aka Lightning, recruited by the Justice Society of America.

At Fox, Black Lightning is looking to join another DC superhero drama, Gotham, as well as Lucifer, based on the DC/Vertigo comic. Both are produced by WBTV.

Black Lightning would be the second black superhero toplining his own series currently on TV, along with Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.

Black Lightning adaptation had been in the works at WBTV for well over a year, going through different incarnations as the studio has taken its time to get the take right.

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Berlanti and his Berlanti Prods. are behind all of WBTV’s superhero series on the CW — DC’s Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, which Berlanti also co-created, as well as the upcoming Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale.

For both Berlanti and the Akils, this marks the second high-profile sale this season.

Berlanti Prods. has drama Criminal, co-written by Blindspot creator Martin Gero, which has a put pilot commitment at ABC, and comedy Raised by Wolves, an adaptation of the 2015 UK series, written by Diablo Cody, which also is at ABC with a script commitment plus penalty. The company is repped by WME.

Brock Akil and Akil have Documenting Love, a multi-camera comedy at ABC, which has a pilot production commitment.

Brock Akil created comedy series Girlfriends and its spinoff The Game as well as drama Being Mary Jane. Akil was the director on all three and executive produced The Game and Being Mary Jane. The Akils are repped by ICM Partners and Stephen Barnes at Morris Yorn.

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Warner Bros’ DC Entertainment has seven broadcast series, with new NBC comedy Powerless joining returning dramas Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and iZombie on the CW, and Gotham and Lucifer at Fox.

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