Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Supergirl and the Four-Timers' Club

It's Supergirl!
Coming soon to CBS
So much has been made in seasons past of mega-successful TV producers who juggle multiple shows on the air, and all the moving parts that must entail.  The feat is made all the more impressive when you note how producers like Dick Wolf and Shonda Rhimes preside over programs that also happen to be among the best in their genres.

Super-successful Shonda Rhimes
Next season, both producers will probably keep their records in tact, with four definite shows for Wolf (granddaddy Law & Order:  SVU plus Chicago Fire and its now two spinoffs, Chicago P.D. and the new Chicago Medical) and probably four for Rhimes (the grandmommy Grey's Anatomy, plus mega-hot Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder and ABC's likely pickup of a new drama, The Catch.)
Prolific producer Dick Wolf

But while those producers have sold their wares all to one network (Wolf at NBC, Rhimes at ABC, and, let's not forget that before this season's finale of Two and a Half Men, Chuck Lorre had four shows at CBS), undoubtedly leveraging one's popularity to gain pickup for another, yet another megasuccessful producer has emerged, with shows all over the broadcast dial.

Four-timer (and counting) Greg Berlanti
As of Fall 2015, Greg Berlanti will also have at least four shows on the air, with the CW's Arrow and The Flash, NBC's recently picked up suspenser Blindspot, and now CBS' announcement that it has picked up Supergirl to series.  Will NBC break the tie by maintaining a fifth Berlanti series on its airwaves, the on-the-bubble Mysteries of Laura, next season?  We'll find out this coming Monday, May 11, when all things peacock will be revealed.

In the meanwhile, news is just coming out today about Supergirl as CBS' first new series pickup.  That the story broke today is already an impressive feat, considering how secretive CBS normally is about its upfront news; in fact, journalists have nicknamed the secrecy surrounding the network's last-minute programming war room each May "Les Moonves' Cone of Silence."  But with a producer like Berlanti who has clout, he can ask for an early deadline for the decision.

Supergirl stars Melissa Benoist in the title role of Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman; the show's pilot, written by Berlanti, Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg, starts with Kara at age 24, deciding to embrace her superhuman abilities and becoming a hero.  The impressive cast also contains Calista Flockhart, as Kara's tough boss, Cat Grant; Mehcad Brooks as love interest Jimmy Olsen; Chyler Leigh as Kara's doctor sister, Alex Danvers; David Harewood as supervillain Hank Henshaw aka Cyborg Superman; and Laura Benanti in a recurring role as Kara's birth mother, Alura Zor-El.  All that, plus the news that broke a few months back that this adaptation will bring back some faces familiar to Superman fans, with Helen Slater (big-screen Supergirl) and Dean Cain (Lois & Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman) cast in "secret roles."

No word yet from CBS as to whether the show will debut in Fall 2015, or "midseason" (even though CBS President Nina Tassler has officially banished that word), or in what time slot.  That news will come on Wednesday, May 13, as CBS rolls out its upfront presentation at New York's Carnegie Hall.  Stay tuned!

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