10:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee,' 'Whiplash' Breakout Set as CBS' 'Supergirl'
CBS and Warner Bros. Television have found their Supergirl.
Glee and Whiplash breakout Melissa Benoist has been tapped to play the iconic DC Comics character, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The hourlong drama, which received a hefty series commitment, centers on Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, who was born on the planet Krypton and escaped amid its destruction years ago. Benoist will play Kara, who after arriving on Earth was taken in by a foster family, the Danvers, who taught her to be careful with her extraordinary powers (which she shares with her famous cousin, Superman).
Now 24, Kara feels un-empowered, a slave to having repressed her innate abilities. She's still pretty, but with her face hidden behind glasses and her hair pulled back, she doesn't know it herself. An unexpected disaster forces her to use her powers in public. Energized by her heroic deed, for the first time in her life, Kara begins embracing her extraordinary abilities. She begins helping the people of her city and they soon take notice — and she's even given a new moniker: Supergirl.
Benoist becomes the actress to portray the character, who was most recently played on the small screen by Laura Vandervoort on The CW's Superman origin story Smallville.
The Glee actress was one of many actresses to test for the role, edging out The Vampire Diaries/The Originals' Claire Holt, among others, for the part, sources tell THR.
Benoist joined Fox's Glee during season four, as one of McKinley High's new students after the musical's senior class graduated. She was promoted to series regular ahead of season five and had been considered the heir apparent to star Lea Michele's Rachel on the series before the musical was retooled.
Supergirl will not be the first time Benoist has played a superhero. The actress donned a cape as "Woman Fierce" in Glee's "Dynamic Duets" episode in which the glee club channeled their inner super hero. (Watch her performance of "Holding Out for a Hero," below.)
She joins fellow Glee breakout Grant Gustin (The CW's The Flash) to land the starring role in a DC Comics adaptation from WBTV.
Arrow and Flash's Greg Berlanti and his No Ordinary Family cohort Ali Adler (The New Normal) will pen the script and executive produce the drama via Berlanti Productions' WBTV-based banner. Berlanti Productions' topper Sarah Schecter is also on board to executive produce.
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Supergirl — which still needs an official series order — could give all five of the broadcast networks superhero-themed series on the air next season, with DC properties on four of the five. Fox has Batman story Gotham — which like Supergirl started with a series commitment; NBC has Hellblazer take Constantine, which will end after 13 episodes; CW has already renewed Flash and Arrow; and ABC, via Disney's deal with Marvel, has Agents of SHIELD and bridge series Agent Carter. For its part, Netflix also has four Marvel series and a mini, starting with Daredevil.
Benoist's credits include awards season darling Whiplash and roles on CBS' Blue Bloods and The Good Wife as well as Showtime's Homeland. She's repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and Frankfurt Kurnit.