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Supergirl is staying in the Berlanti camp.
Melissa Benoist is near a deal to star in HBO Max’s newly ordered drama series The Girls on the Bus, from exec producers Greg Berlanti and Julie Plec. The casting reunites the actress with Berlanti after she spent six seasons wearing the cape as the lead of CBS-turned-The CW’s Supergirl. The DC Comics-inspired drama wrapped its run in November, with the final season pushed to March of last year in order to accommodate Benoist’s pregnancy.
Reps for HBO Max and producers Warner Bros. TV declined comment as a deal is not officially closed.
The Girls on the Bus is inspired by a chapter of Amy Chozick’s best-selling book. The comedic, character-driven drama chronicles four female journalists who follow every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates while finding friendship, love, and scandal along the way. Benoist is expected to play one of the four central journalists.
Plec and author Chozick are credited as writers on the series and both exec produce. Berlanti and his Berlanti Productions partner Sarah Schechter and head of TV David Madden also exec produce. Warner Bros. TV, where Berlanti is based with a rich overall deal, is the studio. The casting also extends Benoist’s relationship with Warners, the studio behind Supergirl and where she set her first overall deal for her launched production company a year ago. It’s unclear if Benoist will also be credited as an executive producer, though the odds are safe that she will, given her value to the studio and her deal there.
The Girls on the Bus had a wild ride to HBO Max. The drama was originally ordered at Netflix in 2019 following a multiple-outlet bidding war. The streaming giant quietly dropped Bus during the quarantine portion of the pandemic in 2020. The drama had a production commitment and was beginning to cast up when the pandemic hit and was ultimately dropped as part of the streamer’s regime change from Cindy Holland (who bought it) to Bela Bajaria (who dropped it). Sources note that the political backdrop of the series was part of the reason Netflix ultimately bailed on the project. The CW picked it up last September and had plans to redevelop the series for its younger-focused audience, despite the fact that nearly a full season’s worth of scripts had already been completed. It’s unclear how much of the scripts Netflix effectively paid for will be part of the HBO Max incarnation.
Benoist, whose credits also include Glee and Whiplash, is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and Frankfurt Kurnit.
A premiere date (and episode count) for Bus has not yet been determined.
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