It’s official: the CW has picked up Black Lightning — from Greg Berlanti, king of the CW’s DC universe; The Game and Being Mary Jane creator Mara Brock Akil; and her husband Salim Akil — with a pilot order. The high-profile drama based on the DC character, which had a big production commitment at Fox, was recently put in turnaround after Fox opted not to proceed with a pilot. Producing studio Warner Bros. TV shopped it to other networks, with the CW quickly emerging as the likely new home.
Written by the husband-and-wife duo of Akil and Brock Akil based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce. Pierce made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hellbent 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.
The CW president Mark Pedowitz said at TCA that while the network had no ongoing plans for a new DC superhero series the door was left open for unforeseen opportunities, like Supergirl becoming available last May, which the network also swooped in to pick up.
Pierce aka Black Lightning was one of DC Comics’ first major African-American superheroes, making his debut in 1977. In the books Jefferson has two daughters, both of whom have followed in his superhero footsteps: Anissa Pierce, aka Thunder, who is a member of the Outsiders, and Jennifer Pierce, aka Lightning, recruited by the Justice Society of America.