5:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Marvel's 'New Warriors' Won't Air on Freeform, Series Will Be Shopped Elsewhere (Exclusive)
Marvel's highly anticipated take on New Warriors is on the move.
The half-hour scripted comedy, picked up straight to series at Freeform in April, will no longer air on the younger-skewing, Disney-owned cable network. Instead, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Marvel will shop the live-action comedy to other outlets. Sources say there has been some talk that the 10-episode series from Kevin Biegel (Enlisted) could be taken to Disney's forthcoming subscription streaming service, though insiders stress that's a long shot.
The pilot — which stars Baby Daddy grad Derek Theler as Mister Immortal and This Is Us' Milana Vayntrub as fan-favorite Squirrel Girl — is said to have tested through the roof and caught the attention of high-level Disney executives. Insiders note that Freeform — which is expanding original programming to four nights a week in 2018 — could not find a slot for the show next year as it had originally intended. Marvel then asked for New Warriors back as the comic book powerhouse wants it to premiere in the new year. Freeform obliged.
"We are extremely excited about Marvel’s New Warriors and look forward to finding the perfect partner to launch the series with in 2018,” said Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment.
Sources suggest Disney-owned Marvel — which has a multiple-show deal at Netflix that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, The Defenders and the upcoming Punisher — is no longer able to sell to outside companies. (Marvel denies that.) If true, that would seemingly limit the potential new homes for New Warriors. That would indicate that New Warriors could wind up on Disney's SVOD service that will be home to the studio's hits like Finding Dory, Marvel features like Captain America and Lucasfilm titles including Star Wars. Disney's streaming service is being eyed to launch in late 2019, which could also eliminate that as a destination unless the platform is jump-started early as Marvel is keen on the show airing in 2018. Sources say New Warriors could also be taken out to other streaming services, with the comic book giant eyeing a two-season pickup. Production is rumored to resume in January should the show find a quick new home.
New Warriors is about six young people learning to cope with their abilities in a world where bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates. Joining Vayntrub and Theler are Jeremy Tardy as Night Thrasher, Calum Worthy as Speedball, Matthew Moy as Microbe and Kate Comer as Debrii. New Warriors hails from Marvel Television and ABC Studios' cable arm ABC Signature. Marvel head of TV Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory executive produce alongside Biegel, who serves as showrunner. New Warriors, sources say, could be Marvel TV 2.0, with the ability to feature multiple spinoffs similar to the company's Netflix arrangement.
In picking up the series in April, Freeform exec vp programming and development Karey Burke noted the process was "super competitive," and that the cabler had been longtime fans of the franchise and "chased Squirrel Girl" before landing Marvel's Cloak and Dagger with a straight-to-series order. The cable network is shifting to four nights of originals in 2018 — three of them scripted — with an hour of programming Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Tom Ascheim-led network recently doubled down on forthcoming comedy Alone Together, renewing the Lonely Island-produced series for a second season ahead of its premiere. Its roster also includes Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish, Cloak and Dagger, The Siren, The Bold Type, Shadowhunters, The Fosters, Young & Hungry, Beyond and Famous in Love.
For Marvel, meanwhile, the comic book giant has a large roster of television programming that includes the Netflix roster; ABC's Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans; Hulu's The Runaways; FX's Legion and animated Deadpool; and Fox's The Gifted.