DC to Launch Digital Service With Greg Berlanti's 'Titans'

THR Greg Berlanti 20160502-Berlanti28786 - H 2016
Christopher Patey

THR Greg Berlanti 20160502-Berlanti28786 - H 2016

DC Entertainment is expanding its digital footprint.

The company is teaming with Warner Bros. Digital Network Group for a new digital service launching in 2018, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Two of the first series offered on the new platform will be a live-action series, Titans, from exec producers Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns and Sarah Schechter, as well as the upcoming third season of animated series, Young Justice: Outsiders.

Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be superheroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. The series centers on Dick Grayson (aka Robin of Batman and Robin) as he emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven and many others. The series is an adaptation of the comic book series, which launched in the early '60s.

The team of teen superheroes first appeared in a 1964 issue of The Brave and the Bold as a "Junior Justice League" featuring Robin (aka Dick Grayson), Kid Flash (Wally West) and Aqualad (Garth). They were later joined by Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) and Green Arrow's sidekick, Speedy (Roy Harper). The series was later revived in 1980 and relaunched as The New Teen Titans, aging the characters to young adults. The most Titans volume ran from 2008 to 2011.

Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery), Johns and Berlanti will write Titans, which will be produced by Warner Bros. TV in association with Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions.

The series pickup for Titans comes a year after TNT passed on the project, which then hailed from Goldsman and Marc Haimes. The pilot was ordered in 2014, and passed on two years later. At the time, TNT president Kevin Reilly told THR, "It wasn't quite where we wanted to go." However, a month later, Johns continued to sound optimistic about bringing Titans to the small screen.

The move for the Young Justice animated series comes after two seasons on Cartoon Network, running from 2011 to 2013. The new installment, Young Justice: Outsiders, centers on the teenage superheroes of the DC Universe come of age in an animated world of superpowers, super-villains and super-secrets. In the highly anticipated new season, the team faces its greatest challenge yet as it takes on meta-human trafficking and the terrifying threat it creates for a society caught in the crossfire of a genetic arms race spanning the globe and the galaxy. 

Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!, Justice League Action) is executive producer, with Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Star Wars Rebels) set to produce the Warner Bros. Animation entry. Emmy winner Phil Bourassa will return as the series' art director.

Both series will air exclusively on DC's digital platform, which will be operated by Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group. The service is described as an "immersive experience designed just for DC fans."

The move further into TV programming is no surprise given the success DC Entertainment has found on the small screen. The CW is home to DC shows — Arrow, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl — all of which are exec produced by Berlanti and Schechter. (Johns has also written several episodes of the various series.) DC characters also headline the Fox dramas Lucifer and Gotham, the latter of which follows a young Bruce Wayne, and NBC is home to the first DC comedy series, Powerless. (However, NBC has since pulled the remaining episodes of the struggling half-hour.) AMC's Preacher and The CW's iZombie also are part of the larger DC universe.

That group may soon be joined by the adaptation of Black Lightening should the pilot get picked up to series by The CW for the 2017-18 season. 

On the animated series side, Young Justice: Outsiders joins Teen Titans Go! and Justice League Action, which both air on Cartoon Network. However, in recent years, The CW's own digital service, CW Seed, has also expanded into animated DC fare with Vixen and the upcoming animated Constantine reboot, in which the star of the short-lived live-action series Matt Ryan will reprise his role. 

DC Entertainment's decision to launch its own digital service comes as more and more platforms are looking to launch viable streaming competitors to established services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Most recently, CBS launched its own streaming service, CBS All Access, which will be the home to another beloved property, the highly anticipated Star Trek reboot.