Amell has signed on to topline Heels, an hourlong drama set in the outrageous world of independent professional wrestling, which had been eyeing an eight-episode series pickup at Starz. With him on board, the project has received a series greenlight and an eight-episode order.
Written by Michael Waldron (Loki), with Mike O’Malley set as showrunner, Heels is about the men and women who chase their dreams in the world of small town pro wrestling. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals — one of them played by Amell — war over their late father’s legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy and somebody must play their nemesis, the heel (Amell). But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind.
In the ring, Amell’s Jack Spade is the charismatic villain, or heel, of the Duffy Wrestling Association. In the real world, he’s its hard-working owner, a husband and father trying to make ends meet while fighting to realize his impossible dreams. He has the mind of an artist in the body of a warrior and a Steve Jobs-ian need for perfection — and for control. He says he’ll do whatever it takes to build the DWA into an empire. Will he go so far as to risk his marriage or his relationship with his brother?
“Hey @CodyRhodes — wanna come and help me make a tv show?,” Amell tweeted to the wrestler and Arrow alum seconds after news of Heels broke, along with the headline of Deadline’s story.
Heels was set up at Starz by Paramount Television in early 2017 and was quickly put on fast track for an eight-episode series pickup. Starz later became the lead studio, with Lionsgate TV eventually laking over as part of the recent integration of Starz and Lionsgate’s TV production operations.
Heels is produced by Lionsgate TV in association with Paramount TV. Along with Waldron and O’Malley, LBI Entertainment’s Julie Yorn, Chris Donnelly and Patrick Walmsley will also serve as executive producers.
This marks O’Malley’s return to Starz. He was creator/executive producer of Survivor’s Remorse, which ran for four seasons on the premium cable network.
For the past seven years, Amell has headlined the CW’s drama series Arrow, playing the lead, Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. He helped Arrow become a breakout hit and launch a hit Arrowverse franchise for the network. Arrow is heading into its eighth and final season on the CW.
Amell, who also has appeared on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash and Supergirl, is repped by CAA, Leverage Management, and Gary Goddard Agency and Sloane, Offer, Weber, Dern.