The CW has not shied away from picking up projects originally developed at other networks — Fox or siblings CBS and Showtime — a move that has resulted in such signature CW series as Riverdale, Supergirl, Black Lightning, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the underrated Ringer. The CW is doing it again this year with pilot orders to Kung Fu, a reimagining with a female lead of the 1970s David Carradine-starring TV series, from Greg Berlanti, and small-town drama with a female lead The Republic of Sarah, from Marc Webb. The projects had been originally developed at Fox and CBS, respectively, and both were redeveloped for the CW this cycle.
As per the framework of the CW’s setup as a co-venture between Warner Bros. and CBS, which calls for parity in pilot orders, one of the two newly picked up pilots comes from Warner Bros. TV (Kung Fu) and one from CBS TV Studios (The Republic of Sarah).
Kung Fu hails from the Blindspot team of writer-executive producer Christina M. Kim, creator-executive producer Martin Gero, executive producers Greg Berlanti & Sarah Schechter and Warner Bros. TV, where Kim, Gero and Berlanti Prods. are under deals.
The Republic Of Sarah, which went to pilot at CBS starring Sarah Drew last season, is from writer-producer Jeffrey Paul King (Elementary), producer-director Marc Webb, CBS TV Studios and studio-based Fulwell 73.
The CW had been expected to pick up fewer pilots than usual this year, around four. There will likely be two more I hear. The network got way ahead of the game earlier this month, bypassing the pilot stage to give straight-to-series orders to two high-profile projects, Superman & Lois, starring Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as the iconic couple, and Walker, a reimagining of Walker, Texas Ranger, which is headlined by Jared Padalecki.
The network also has two backdoor pilots, an Arrow spinoff (aka Green Arrow & The Canaries), headlined by the show’s Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy reprising their roles; and The 100 prequel (aka Anaconda). Both are airing as episodes of the mothership series’ final seasons.
Written by Kim, inspired by the original series created by Ed Spielman, in the reimagined Kung Fu, a quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese-American woman to drop out of college and go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. But when she returns to find her hometown overrun with crime and corruption, she uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice…all while searching for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.
Kim and Gero executive produce via Gero’s Quinn’s House Production Company, which produces in association with Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Berlanti and Schechter executive produce for Berlanti Prods.
Two incarnations of the project with different writers — both featuring a female lead — were in development at Fox the last two seasons from Berlanti Prods and Warner Bros. TV with a put pilot commitment. Neither went to pilot.
Berlanti Prods. and WBTV have a successful track record moving to CW projects that had been originally developed at Fox. The CW hit Riverdale and DC drama Black Lightning both originated as Fox development before migrating to the CW.
THE REPUBLIC OF SARAH
Written by King, The Republic of Sarah is said to have a Northern Exposure feel. Faced with the destruction of her town at the hands of a greedy mining company, rebellious high school teacher Sarah Cooper utilizes an obscure cartographical loophole to declare independence. Now Sarah must lead a young group of misfits as they attempt to start their own country from scratch.
King executive producers with Webb, Mark Martin and Fulwell 73’s Jeff Grosvenor and Leo Pearlman.
Webb was director/executive producer of the CBS TV Studios’ Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which migrated successfully from Showtime to the CW.
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