CBS held its panel at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour today, and unsurprisingly, some new details were revealed for its potential DC Entertainment series, Supergirl. Network chairman Nina Tassler updated on the process of casting Kara Zor-El, praises the “awesome” costume design and explains how the show will tell a “female empowerment story.” She also discusses the evolution of the superhero genre and how Supergirl is a good fit for CBS. And as for the possibility of the series crossing over with Arrow and/or The Flash, Tassler sheds doubt on the potential. Below is a rundown of what was discussed. Thanks to Entertainment Weekly and IGN for the following information.
-Tassler reveals that Supergirl will incorporate procedural drama elements, which shouldn’t be too surprising given CBS’ track record. “There will be [crime] cases, but what [executive producers] Ali Adler and Greg Berlanti pitched was a real series arc for her. The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy.”
-The CBS chairman goes on to call the series a “coming of age” story that mashes up with the mythology of Kara Zor-El, who definitely sounds like she will be a “strong” female character. “It’s a wonderful amalgamation of the mythology of the character with a coming of age tale. She’s a very strong, independent young woman and she’s coming into her own. She’s dealing with family issues. She’s dealing with work issues. And it’s a female-empowerment story, which if you look at the strong female characters we have on the air, it really is resonate to that.” She adds, “It’s her intellect, it’s her skill, it’s her smarts. It’s all of those elements. It’s not just her strength, which she does have.”
-Tassler then confirms that she has seen the Supergirl costume, which was designed by Colleen Atwood (who previously created the suits for Arrow and The Flash), calling it “awesome.” However, an actress has yet to be cast in the title role. Tassler explains how whoever will play Kara must be able to carry this series. “She’s got to be an every woman. She’s got to be specific. She’s got to be a terrific actor. I think back to having had the good fortune of being at Warner Bros. when we were doing Lois & Clark, the chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was really wonderful. So I think in this case, it’s looking for someone who embodies both the freshness and the exuberance of being a young woman in today’s challenging climate and being someone who can carry this kind of series on her shoulders. It’s a big, big show.” It also sounds like CBS is looking to cast a lesser known name as Supergirl.
-Greg Berlanti, who is an executive producer on Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, recently suggested that the latter crossing over into The CW’s DC Universe was a possibility. However, Tassler has now downplayed that possibility, citing the fact that Supergirl is on a separate network. “Well, those two shows [The Flash and Arrow] are on a different network. So I think we’ll keep Supergirl to ourselves for awhile.” CBS co-owns The CW with Warner Bros., so it would be surprising that, even if it’s a different network, that would keep the two worlds from colliding. Of course, it’s more likely that the Supergirl crew is focused on creating the best show possible before crossing over with others.
-Finally, Tassler weighed in on the superhero genre’s evolution, explaining how Supergirl is a good fit for CBS rather than the more comic book-centric CW and citing the relatability of these fictional characters. “I think we’re watching an evolution with regard to the way that superhero characters are portrayed. There’s a humanity. They’re flawed. There’s a relatability. For our network right now, what we did respond to was the character’s humanity, the other characters in the show as well — the story trajectory and the character’s arc and growth. These are all things that made her just imminently relatable, and made the story exciting. We made a decision based on the pitch that we heard.”
Casting news for Supergirl, which may premiere next fall, is expected to be announced soon. So, stay tuned for more as we have it.