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The CW joined the series pickup fray Thursday, handing out expected orders to Julie Plec‘s Cordon adaption and its Arrow/Flash spinoff, now titled DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. The younger-skewing network also delivered a curveball, picking up half-hour comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — now an hourlong series — from its corporate sibling Showtime.
Cordon, based on the Belgian series created by Carl Joos, hails from Plec and gives the prolific showrunner three series on the network (with The Vampire Diaries and spinoff The Originals) for the second time in her career. The series examines what happens when a deadly epidemic breaks out in Atlanta and a large city quarantine is quickly enforced, leaving those stuck on the inside to fight for their lives. It tells the story of loved ones tragically torn apart, and how the society that grows inside the cordon reveals both the devolution of humanity and the birth of unlikely heroes.
Plec penned the script and exec produces alongside David Nutter, who directed the pilot. David Gyasi, Christina Marie Moses, Chris Wood, Kristen Gutoskie, Claudia Black, Hanna Mangan Lawrence, George Young and Trevor St. John star in the drama from Plec’s Warner Bros. Television-based My So-Called Company and Eyeworks. Cordon had been considered the frontrunner at the network heading into next week’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue in New York.
For its part, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has been described as a superhero team-up that stars The Flash‘s Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave) and Victor Garber (Dr. Martin Stein/one half of Firestorm). Also signed on are Arrow‘s Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/the Atom and Caity Lotz, whose Arrow character, Sara Lance/Canary, died earlier this season. Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl), Franz Drameh (Jay Jackson) and Arthur Darvill round out the cast.
Here’s the formal logline: “When heroes alone are not enough … the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat — one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known?”
Sources tell THR that the spinoff was ordered sight unseen — and has yet to film a pilot. The CW is expected to unveil a special trailer shot specifically for the upfronts. The drama is executive produced by Arrow creators Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim and hails from Bonanza Productions, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The super spinoff comes as Berlanti and Kreisberg have already received a series order for CBS’ DC Comics take Supergirl, which will be showrun by Ali Adler (No Ordinary Family).
With the spinoff order, The CW will have four DC Comics-inspired series on its roster for 2015-16, including recently renewed iZombie. All told, DC will have fare on three of the five broadcast networks, with Gotham also renewed at Fox, which is eyeing a series pickup for the comic book powerhouse’s Lucifer take.
For Berlanti, the super-producer now needs a renewal for NBC’s bubble drama Mysteries of Laura in order to have six shows on the broadcast networks next season. NBC has already handed out a series order to drama Blindspot, which joins Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends.
Meanwhile, the big surprise is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is now an hourlong comedy. The project was originally ordered to pilot by Showtime in June 2014, then considered dead back in February, and is described as a comedy with “musical elements.” It follows co-creator Rachel Bloom (as Rebecca Bloom), a successful New York attorney who abandons her charmed life to start over again in West Covina, Calif. Bloom is joined as executive producer by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), who directed the original half-hour pilot. The series is being produced by CBS Television Studios. “This pilot is an exciting change of pace for us,” Showtime Networks president David Nevins said at the time. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is built on the inspired comedy and songwriting of Rachel Bloom — who, we believe, is ready to break out.”
The move for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend comes a few years after The CW picked up Ringer from CBS, and arrives as the network has made comedy a priority. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could give The CW a much-needed companion to awards darling Jane the Virgin. With the order, The CW continues its trend of ordering series from both of its corporate parents, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. The network developed a total of four pilots — two from each studio — though both of CBSTVS‘ entries, Tales From the Darkside and Cheerleader Death Squad, are not moving forward. WBTV’s Dead People anthology also has been passed over.
Episode counts and scheduling will be announced later.
The pickups — down one from last year — come as The CW has little room on its schedule after renewing nearly all of its original scripted fare: The 100, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, The Originals, Reign, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries, The Flash, iZombie and Jane the Virgin.
Michael O’Connell and Aaron Couch contributed to this report.
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