Update: Black Lightning Snags Pilot Order at The CW After Fox Passes

Can the Berlantiverse handle a five-way crossover?

Warner Bros. is looking for a new home for Black Lightning in light of Fox’s decision not to move forward with a pilot, and the CW is seen as the likely home for the DC Comics adaptation, our sister site Deadline reports. UPDATE: The CW now confirms that it has indeed picked Black Lightning up to pilot.

The superhero drama, executive produced by Greg Berlanti, would join his ever-growing roster of primetime vigilantes, which include Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow. Per Deadline, Fox ultimately decided not to proceed with the project due to its own expanding slate of genre-heavy fare, which includes Gotham and Lucifer, Seth MacFarlane’s live-action space dramedy and a Marvel series from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix.

The potential series, which is being written by Being Mary Jane creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil, was first greenlit at Fox back in September. Black Lightning has previously appeared on the small-screen mostly in animated form, including an appearance on Cartoon Network’s Young Justice.

The official logline for the series reads as follows:

Jefferson Pierce made his choice. He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend — Black Lightning.

Would Black Lightning make a good fit on The CW, or is the Berlantiverse stretching itself too thin?

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55 Comments
  1. Jeremy says:

    It’s stretching itself too thin! Berlanti needs to focus on improving Arrow and The Flash before adding another show. He’s too busy with the 4 plus Riverdale and Blindspot!

    • Michael says:

      They need to shorten each show to maybe 10 episodes. Then the story telling can be better and tighter, plus they could add other shows

      • ashleytwo says:

        Hmm I wonder how it would pan out if they essentially did a relay-race throughout the year. Each show gets 10 episode with a few ‘handover’ episodes that cross over and then maybe the annual crossover as a big special during one of the sweeps months.

      • Ralph says:

        No, they don’t need to shorten them to 10 shows. The fans are already pissed when they take a 5 week hiatus. They need to start production a month earlier on all the shows to prevent this. By the time they return, the fans have moved onto other shows or just set the DVR.

    • herman1959 says:

      Agreed, plus it wouldn’t hurt to cancel Blindspot.

  2. Nicole says:

    I think it’ll add some color to the mix which I’d appreciate but Greg really needs to work on Arrow. It’s terrible. Oliver Queen needs to work on himself before he should try to save some others souls. Also can villains just be villains and not just people from Oliver’s past who are mad?!?

  3. Phun says:

    Does this mean a superhero show everyday of the week. :)

  4. Jobless says:

    CW has to be careful with over-saturation. 4 superhero shows is more than enough.

    • Lola says:

      Yes. Preach. Enough is enough already. Ratings are clearly sliding backwards for many reasons whether is oversaturation or less than stellar writing. Fans aren’t so gung ho to watch as much as they were in the previous seasons. Don’t need to add another to the pile.

    • Bill says:

      Nope. Keep them coming. I live for these shows.

  5. Ian says:

    We’ve reached oversaturation now. I’m over hearing the words “Berlanti”, and “CW”, and “superhero”.
    And I feel like both networks are a mess these days. I just want great originals programs again.
    Maybe Black Lightning could have had a chance with the Akils behind it if Fox had ordered it to series, but it’ll just become another “one of those” shows over at the CW, so no thanks.

  6. John036 says:

    please no. we do not need FIVE superhero shows on ONE network.

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Good reason why Fox passing on the show. That means there are good chances for Gotham and Lucifer getting renewed for another season. Hope Black Lightning will find a new home on The CW or another network soon!

  8. Celina says:

    If CW can have one more superhero show, I wish it could have been Constantine

  9. Luis Roman says:

    The Arrowverse has been one of the most diverse on TV, and Black Lightning would certainly contribute to that trend, being the first non Caucasian hero to headline his own show on the CW. I wonder whether maintaining five shows on the network would be too much, however.

  10. Ray says:

    No more Berlanti comic book shows. We’ve reached saturation point and all his existing shows are suffering as a result.

  11. Emily says:

    The CW needs to stop with the super hero shows… we already have FOUR. On one network. The network needs a variety or it could lose some of its fans bc not everyone likes super hero shows. I love them. But a good network should have a variety of different kind of shows.

  12. brandydanforth81 says:

    Enough suphero shows CW!!!You have four plus Vixen and another with a gay male hero -I forget the name-on Seed and you also already have more than enough Berlanti shows with Riverdake,LoT,Flash,Arrow,SG.Not even your once hit produce Plec had more than 3 shows-VD,Containment,TO,TTP)TTP proves not all he touches is gold.
    Pedowitz you keep saying how you want diversity and diversity in programming and CW is almost to the point if oversateration of genre shows and how you don’t want CW to be DC Network.Well,then stop with the suphero shows.Fuce might be too exspensive and is oversateration.

  13. Sarah G says:

    BAD idea, verse is stretching itself WAY too thin. CW is oversaturated with these shows to the point of absurdity. Like, I heard this news earlier and almost literally yawned, rather than feeling the excitment I once felt when hearing about Arrow or The Flash. They won’t care and they’ll pick it up, despite the obvious significant ratings erosion over-saturation has already caused this season, but for what it is worth having so many superhero shows has caused me to quit watching any of them (sorry, between the declining quality and way too many of the things leaving me feeling I was watching basically the same thing every night, I got beyond tired of it all) and since I also have no interest in quirky dramedys aka the only other kind of show the CW has any interest in making, this news was the final straw in me admitting the CW really, REALLY doesn’t want me as a viewer anymore. Like, it feels like if this network was a person, it would cross the street to avoid me.

    I’m really disappointed that the CW went from having a decent mix of shows to acting like nothing other than superheros and quirkfest dramedy exist. Good for the little-show-that-could SPN for hanging on in there as clearly the ONLY show that’s gonna survive without fitting in either category, but barring a miracle, I think after this season I’m just washing my hands of the network – they don’t want me as a viewer, so fine, happy to help them with that. Tho considering that since its inception it has actually (for real) consistently been my fave network I honestly feel sad about that, LOL. But thems the breaks.

    Lol sorry, apparently I had some feelings I needed to get out. Short version, tho: no, I don’t think they should pick it up. But they will.

  14. Jason says:

    The way you people are overreacting to this is hilarious. Simple, LoT has short seasons this plus that would equal the season of one CW superhero show

  15. ncmacasl says:

    Berlanti seems to be the new JJ Abrams!! bring it on!!

  16. Michael says:

    I rather see Birds of Prey make a come back, it was ahead of its time on the first go round

  17. datdudemurphy says:

    which universe would it be in? The Supergirl universe or the Arrowverse?

    They really don’t need to expand their superhero slate, but some rotating 10-12 episode series wouldn’t be a bad way to go.

  18. LK says:

    They should drop Legends and replace it with this one… Legends continues to be a directionless mess with poorly conceived characters.. Black Lightning has a lot more promise from a character and storyline perspective.

    • JC1 says:

      Legends has been by far my favorite of the four this season. I would vote it most improved from last season.

      • Lyla says:

        That’s the funny thing – if I look at my excitement and enjoyment objectively, Legends this season is the best for me too. As it is for many people if you read the comments on the review sites. But the thing is, as it came third, it has a smaller and less excited fan base than Arrow and Flash. Yes, people enjoy watching Legends this season,and the writing is not only funny, but actually smart. However, shows that want to survive beyond 3 seasons need a very loyal, dedicated and even a little obsessive fan base (look at Arrow). IDK if LOT ”has it”. Sadly.

        • JC1 says:

          I don’t think fanbases have anything to do with a show’s survival. Ratings are what determines survival. Some of the most passionate fanbases have formed around low rated (and ultimately cancelled) shows. Since the hiatus Legends has been ranking #3 for the network, and this week it matched Supergirl in the demo (though not in total viewers). Unless it starts dropping, it’s not going anywhere.

    • Bill says:

      Legends is a fun show.

  19. Luffy says:

    Add him to Arrow or LOT. His character sounds interesting but he would fit better on Arrow. Maybe have the next big crossover center around him. Or make it on Netflix, Amazon , Hulu.

  20. herman1959 says:

    I think that 5 shows on CW is too much. Black Lightning should be incorporated into the existing Arrowverse. He could show up on any of the four shows, possibly starting with The Flash, and his daughter could be a college friend of Wally’s.

  21. gemini says:

    how old is black lighting gonna be it sounds like his daughter would be an adult that means he would be at least in his 40s I fine with a black lighting show I just don’t want him to old

  22. Butch says:

    5 show crossover next December if Black Lightning goes to series.

  23. L says:

    OMG no. Another show that Arrow will have to crossover with. ENOUGH!

  24. ALM says:

    Sounds great to me. And there is a simple solution to me. End the mess that Arrow has become and replace it with this. BL could not be worse.

  25. Nvm the oversaturation of DC shows on the CW, there’s no way in hell they’d do right by a POC-led show given that as much as Berlanti loves to talk about diversity, he doesn’t even hire POC behind the scenes. If anything, since Fox turned it down, Black Lightning should be on FX, BET, or even OWN where they won’t take Berlanti’s bs about whitesplained “diversity” & make sure POC get. properly represented, complete w/ black showrunners. It’s exactly why a lot of fans complained about Iris’ treatment on The Flash & Diggle constantly being sidelined on Arrow.

  26. Bill says:

    If Arrow ends this next season (6) then BL takes its place that would be cool, but 5 shows is too many. Either that or cancel LoT (the worst rates of the 4 so far

  27. Christy says:

    Can you believe we live in a universe where Black Lightning is getting his own TV show on a network channel? It boggles my mind. I will definitely watch. If I can deal with four Chicago __ shows, I can deal with an ever-expanding superhero universe. Plus, honestly, Arrow can’t go on for too many more seasons.

  28. I love the Arrowverse but this seems excessive.

  29. clintbrew says:

    what next Oliver Queen popping over to Riverdale tracking a fugitive that looks like Archie (it happened in the comics but it was the punisher)

  30. Jared S says:

    If this gets picked up to series I think it should be a summer show. That way there won’t be five shows on at the same time and we can get a couple crossovers to hold us over until the other shows come back in fall.

  31. grys03 says:

    Another superhero show? YAY! Silly superheros are still better than the best reality crap – that’s in jest as there are no good reality shows.
    .
    I like the idea of shorter seasons – around 13-15 would be about right – tight stories similar to Netflix’s Daredevil etc.
    .
    Crossover events should be extra – almost a separate show – with maybe 6 episodes.
    .
    As for the ‘verse getting crowded – welcome to the world of comic book heroes. Aren’t the crossovers some of the best rated episodes?

  32. Rex the Wonder Dog says:

    Technically Supergirl isn’t a vigilante. She is a government agent working for the DEO, a federal agency. The usual definition of a vigilante is someone who works outside the law.

  33. AnonTVAddict says:

    Y’all need to calm down. Do ANY of you know what it means when a network orders a script to pilot? A pilot was order. It doesn’t mean BL was ordered to series. They haven’t even cast the lead yet. Chill out. And all you naysayers out there, are you saying there isn’t enough room on TV for an African-American led superhero show? Maybe it’ll end up as the CW Seeds first live action superhero show? Let’s just let the Berlantiverse people do what they do best and make a damn great pilot and we will go from there.

  34. Ralph says:

    I love all these shows but now one with a black character and black lead maybe they can stop blackwashing so many characters on their other shows.

  35. Ralph says:

    Make it a summer replacement for one of the other CW/DC shows and see if it works before you make a full season commitment.