The CW is getting way ahead of the game for next season. After handing early renewals to all 13 of its current scripted series that are not ending this season, the network has given series pickups in lieu of pilot orders to two high-profile projects, Superman & Lois, starring Supergirl‘s Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as the iconic couple, and Walker, a reimagining of Walker, Texas Ranger, which is headlined by Jared Padalecki.
With several DC series reaching maturity and the show that launched the CW universe, Arrow, in its final season, the network has stepped up its DC development efforts with two high-profile projects, Superman & Lois and an Arrow backdoor spinoff headlined by the show’s Katherine McNamara, Katie Cassidy and Juliana Harkavy reprising their roles. That episode airs next week.
It is unclear how the series pickup of Superman & Lois would impact the Arrowverse pilot’s chances. I had heard chatter that the network may go with one new DC series for next year but a final decision will be made after the network executives review all their pilots.
Both Superman & Lois and Walker have been hot scripts garnering strong early buzz. Both projects are based on well known IP, have popular stars attached and proven auspices behind them — The Flash executive producer Todd Helbing and Greg Berlanti (Superman & Lois) and Anna Fricke and Dan Lin (Walker) — making the script-to-series orders a no-brainer. The two pickups also maintain the parity between the CW’s two sister studios — Superman & Lois comes from Warner Bros. TV, Walker is from CBS TV Studios. The network still is expected to order traditional pilots, likely four.
The pickup for Walker extends Padalecki’s stay at the CW and predecessor the WB, which he had called home for the past two decades with roles on Gilmore Girls and Supernatural.
Like the original series, created by Albert S. Ruddy & Leslie Greif, the reboot, in which Walker is getting a female partner, will explore morality, family, and rediscovering our lost common ground. It centers on Cordell Walker (Padalecki), a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home. He’ll attempt to reconnect with his children, navigate clashes with his conservative family, and find unexpected common ground with his new partner (one of the first women in Texas Rangers’ history), while growing increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death.
Texas native Padalecki reportedly had been looking for an opportunity to stay close to home for his next series and sparked to the idea of revisiting Walker, Texas Ranger. Walker is believed to be a straight reboot, in the vein of CBS’ Magnum PI and MacGyver, with a new incarnation of the beloved title character, played by Padalecki, vs. a sequel where the new lead is a descendant of the protagonist in the original series, who was played by Chuck Norris.
Padalecki and Fricke executive produce Walker with Rideback’s Lin and Lindsey Libertore for CBS Studios.
From the moment word of Walker got out, there had been great enthusiasm for the project at the CW where Supernatural has been an institution, with its stars Padalecki and Jensen Ackles revered by CW fans and enjoying a very close relationship with the network’s president and Supernatural superfan Mark Pedowitz.
As Supernatural is ending its 15-season run, Pedowitz had made it clear that the door at the network was wide open for the creative team and talent of the show to return anytime. “You will always have a home here, and you will always have a personal fan in me,” he said at TCA in August.
The CW has been high on reboots in the past few years with Charmed, Dynasty and Roswell. The original 1993 Walker, Texas Ranger aired on CBS for eight seasons and spawned a followup TV movie, the 2005 Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.
Written by Helbing, based on the DC characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman & Lois revolves around the world’s most famous Super Hero and comic books’ most famous journalist as they deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society.
Former Flash showrunner Helbing executive produces with Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Geoff Johns via Berlanti Productions.
Hoechlin has been portraying Clark Kent/Superman on the CW’s Arrowverse series since 2016, primarily on Supergirl. Tulloch was cast as Lois Lane last year when she appeared alongside Hoechlin’s Man of Steel in the 2018 Arrowverse crossover. She has since appeared as Lois Lane on Supergirl, The Flash and Batwoman. Both Hoechlin and Tulloch are are reprising their roles in the big Arrowverse crossover event.
Here are the two newly picked up series’ official descriptions:
SUPERMAN & LOIS stars Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as the world’s most famous Super Hero and comic books’ most famous journalist as they deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society. Both Hoechlin and Tulloch have already appeared as these iconic characters in multiple episodes of The CW’s DC Super Hero series, including this season’s Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover event, which concludes tonight. Based on the characters from DC created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, “SUPERMAN & LOIS” is written and executive produced by Todd Helbing (“The Flash”) and executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Geoff Johns. The series is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
WALKER, a reimagining of the long-running series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” stars Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker, a widower and father of two with his own moral code, who returns home to Austin after being undercover for two years, only to discover there’s harder work to be done at home. He’ll attempt to reconnect with his children, navigate clashes with his family, and find unexpected common ground with his new partner (one of the first women in Texas Rangers’ history), while growing increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death. “WALKER” is written and executive produced by Anna Fricke (“Being Human,” “Valor”), and executive produced by Dan Lin and Lindsay Liberatore and Jared Padalecki. “WALKER” is from CBS Television Studios in association with Rideback.
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