'Kung Fu' Reboot From 'Blindspot' Team Nabs CW Pilot Pickup

The younger-skewing broadcaster has also ordered 'Republic of Sarah,' which will be redeveloped from the CBS take that went to pilot last season.
Getty Images; Chris Kapa
From left: Greg Berlanti, Christina M. Kim, Martin Gero

The CW, with two straight-to-series orders already under its belt for the 2020-21 broadcast season, on Thursday added to its pilot roster.

Picked up to pilot are Kung Fu, a reboot of the cult 1970s series from the team behind NBC's Blindspot, and The Republic of Sarah, a drama that will be redeveloped from last season when it narrowly missed a series order at CBS.

Kung Fu, which counts Greg Berlanti among its executive producers, will put a Chinese-American woman at its center. The project, which was put into development back in November at The CW after Fox previously took a stab at it in 2018, will be penned by Blindspot's Christina M. Kim, with that series' showrunner, Martin Gero, also attached to exec produce the new take on the Ed Spielman drama that starred David Carradine. Kim, Gero and Berlanti will say farewell to NBC's Blindspot when the series wraps its run with its fifth and final season. (A return date has not been determined.)

Republic of Sarah, meanwhile, will see last year's writer, Jeffrey Paul King (Elementary), take a new shot at the script. This time, the action revolves around a high school teacher who, faced with the destruction of her town at the hands of a greedy mining company, utilizes an obscure cartographical loophole to declare independence and lead a young group of misfits as they attempt to start their own country from scratch. The same producing team — including Marc Webb and Fulwell 73's Jeff Grosvenor — return for the CW take, which is being produced by CBS Television Studios.

Kung Fu and The Republic of Sarah join the Arrow spinoff (Green Arrow & The Canaries) and The 100 prequel (Anaconda) as pilots in contention this season at The CW. All four dramas will compete for limited roster space at the Mark Pedowitz-run broadcaster which, earlier this month, handed out its first traditional straight-to-series orders for Arrow-verse offshoot Superman & Lois and Walker, the reimagining of Chuck Norris' Walker, Texas Ranger starring Supernatural and network favorite Jared Padalecki. All told, The CW now has six pilots in contention for next season. That is on par with last year, with additional pilot orders are expected to come.

Also complicating the network's limited schedule space is the fact that Pedowitz this month handed out early renewals for 13 scripted originals for the 2020-21 season. While The 100, Arrow and Supernatural are all ending, rookie Katy Keene already scored an early vote of confidence with an order for several additional scripts as The CW remains high on its Riverdale offshoot. Should Katy Keene join Superman & Lois and Walker, it's unclear where the network would have room on its schedule for anything more. Last season, The CW ordered only three new scripted series — which helped fill the void of the three shows that came to their conclusions (Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie).

For prolific producer Berlanti, meanwhile, Kung Fu is his fourth order for the 2020-21 season and joins ABC's The Brides as well as The CW's Superman & Lois and the Arrow spinoff. Berlanti and his Warner Bros. TV-based production company topper Sarah Schechter currently have a record 22 scripted originals set up at four broadcast networks and three streaming services. 

Keep track of all of this season's pilot orders, castings and eventual series orders with The Hollywood Reporter's handy guide.