The CW kicked off its 2017 pilot season pickups with nods to its most prolific producer Greg Berlanti, whose company is behind five CW series this season, and to its biggest IP title this year, Dynasty, a reboot of the iconic 1980s soap from Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. The projects come from the CW’s two studio partners, WBTV (Searchers) and CBS TV Studios (Dynasty).
Written by Jason Rothenberg, developer, executive producer and showrunner of the CW/WBTV series The 100, Searchers is about a group of unlikely heroes who find themselves on the journey of a lifetime. Ten years after the death of their parents, a pragmatic brother and free-spirited sister are forced to team up when they learn that their mother’s terrifying and bizarre stories may be a road map to discovering the great legends, myths, and unexplainable mysteries of the world. Rothenberg executive produces with Berlanti Prods’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.
This marks the third pilot order so far this season for WBTV-based Berlanti Prods, along with drama Deception and comedy Raised By Wolves at ABC. The company also has the superhero-themed Black Lightning drama at Fox, which has a pilot production commitment.
Searchers already had been on fast track. In anticipation of a pilot order, WBTV had hired a casting director for the pilot and had scouted locations. I hear the pilot eyes to shoot in South Africa in March.
The CW is looking to return to the primetime soap arena in a big way with Dynasty. In their return to the CW, Schwartz and Savage teamed with Revenge writer-producer Sallie Patrick and the original series’ creators, husband-and-wife duo Esther Shapiro & Richard Shapiro, for a new modern-day reboot of the classic Aaron Spelling-produced ABC series.
Co-written by Schwartz & Savage and Patrick, the new Dynasty follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they feud for control over their fortune and their children. The series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington, and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal, a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class.
This is a new spin on the premise of the original series, which focused on oil tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), whose daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin) resents Blake’s much younger former secretary Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans), to whom he is about to get married. Cristal will be a version of the Krystle character in the CW version, giving it a more diverse feel.
Schwartz and Savage executive produce through their Fake Empire banner alongside Patrick and the Shapiros. Patrick will serve as showrunner if the project moves forward. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski is as co-executive producer.
Schwartz and Savage sat with Esther and Richard Shapiro and CBS TV Studios last summer about possibly rebooting Dynasty. Schwartz and Savage then reached out to Patrick, whom they had been fans of.
The original series aired on ABC from 1981-1989. It had an inauspicious start the first season before taking off as a ratings and pop culture phenom when Joan Collins joined the cast in a Season 2 revamp as the scheming Alexis.
Schwartz and Savage, who recently became available to other studios after wrapping their overall deal at ABC Studios, have the Marvel’s Runaways pilot at Hulu, which they wrote, executive produce and serve as showrunners on.