IP rules the CW’s new series orders. The network has picked up to series Batwoman, starring Ruby Rose; Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, headlined by Lucy Hale; and Nancy Drew, toplined by Kennedy McMann. Batwoman, featuring a lesbian superhero, and Katy Keene come from Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. TV; Nancy Drew hails from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire and CBS TV Studios.
Watch the first Batwoman teaser below.
The three pilots, along with Glamorous, had been standouts at the CW this pilot season. Glamorous, whose star Ben J. Pierce has been getting strong reviews, remains in contention, with a pickup decision pending. It could come before the CW’s May 16 upfront presentation.
The Lost Boys, which did not come as strong as the CW had hoped but remains a concept the network brass are very high on, will be re-piloted off-cycle and reshot with possible recastings. The Jane the Virgin offshoot, Jane the Novela, is not going forward.
With the pickups of Batwoman and Katy Keene, uber producer Berlanti and his Berlanti Prods. will have a whopping nine series on the CW next season, controlling more than half of the network’s schedule as things stand right now.
After the CW renewed all 14 of its current series, today’s new series pickups will bring the number of scripted shows on the network next season to 17, matching the all-time record set this season when the CW added a sixth night of programming on Sunday.
Batwoman will make TV history with the first gay lead character — male or female — of a live-action superhero series. The project has had a charmed road to the screen.
Based on its name recognition and pedigree, the project from Berlanti Productions and writer Caroline Dries emerged as an early standout immediately after the CW unveiled its development on the heels of announcing the Batwoman character’s appearance in the annual Arrow-verse crossover at the May upfronts. The project’s profile got even bigger once Orange Is the New Black‘s Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman this past summer.
Dries’ script came in strong, triggering an early pilot pickup. The pilot was a frontrunner throughout production and was well received when delivered, with people who have seen it raving about it.
Katy Keene also had a lot going for it: its ties to one of CW’s hottest series, Riverdale, and Archie Comics; its star, Lucy Hale; and a New York setting that gives it a Sex and the City/Gossip Girl vibe. With the pickup, the Riverdale franchise is expanding to three series, the flagship and Katy Keene on the CW and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. Aguirre-Sacasa is the creative force behind all three.
Kennedy McMann, who plays Nancy Drew, is considered a potential breakout star on the series, which has Freddie Prinze Jr. playing her dad. Launching a Nancy Drew TV series has been a priority for CBS TV Studios, which has the rights to the the classic YA mystery books. The studio developed two Nancy Drew series over the past four years, Drew at CBS during the 2015-16 development season, which went to pilot starring Sarah Shahi, and Nancy Drew at NBC last season. Both incarnations, from writers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, were conceived as sequels to the books, with an adult Nancy Drew at the center. The studio’s third attempt with a teen heroine and new writers proved to be the charm. Nancy Drew gives Schwartz and Savage’s Fake Empire two series on the CW next season, along with the returning Dynasty.
Here are detailed descriptions and credits for the CW’s newly picked-up series:
Logline: Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane (star Ruby Rose) soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.
Executive Producer/Writer: Caroline Dries
Executive Producers: Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Geoff Johns, David Nutter
Director/Executive Producer: Marcos Siega
Auspices: Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television
Based on the characters from DC
Here is a first teaser:
Logline: In a timeless New York City, as enchanting as Riverdale is moody, aspiring fashion designer Katy Keene (Lucy Hale) meets Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), fresh off the bus to chase her musical dreams. Their world is populated with kindred-spirit starving artists, including mysterious socialite Pepper Smith (Julie Chan) and Broadway-bound performer Jorge Lopez – and his drag queen alter ego, Ginger (Jonny Beauchamp). While their climb to the top is rife with obstacles, this found family will stop at nothing to see their names in lights. Based on the Archie Comics characters.
Executive Producers/Writers: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Michael Grassi
Executive Producers: Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater (Archie Comics CEO and Publisher)
Director/Executive Producer: Maggie Kiley
Based on the characters from Archie Comics
Auspices: Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios
Logline: Set in the summer after her high school graduation,18-year-old Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation — and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.
Writers / Executive Producers: Noga Landau, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage
Director/Co-Executive Producer: Larry Teng
Executive Producers: Melinda Hsu Taylor, Lis Rowinski
Auspices: CBS Television Studios in association with Fake Empire