With the recent news that Calista Flockhart would be taking some time away from her role as Cat Grant on the CW’s Supergirl, many have wondered what this change-up in the show’s cast will mean for the Girl of Steel and her working life as Kara Danvers. Though some were cold on her initial appearance as “J. Lo meets Anna Wintour” (as her casting call described her), the sassy and domineering head of CatCo Worldwide Media has slowly grown to be an integral part of the show and Kara’s life.
Over the years, however, Catherine Jane Grant has taken on a number of personas in her various media incarnations, and has moved in and out of prominence in the pages of DC Comics. While Flockhart and the producers have assured audiences that Cat will return to the show in the future, we thought her temporary departure was a good time to get to know the divisive media personality. Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Cat Grant.
15. She Was Originally Meant As A Love Interest For Clark Kent
By virtue of who Superman is, beginning a relationship with either him or his alter-ego Clark Kent automatically puts you into a sort of love triangle. This was the case for years with Lois Lane, before Clark/Superman’s secret was finally made known to her. To further complicate that dynamic, writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway originally conceived of Cat Grant as a romantic foil for the Lois/Clark/Superman relationship when she first premiered in Adventures Of Superman #424 in 1987.
Joining the Daily Planet as a gossip columnist, a job title that’s mostly stuck with her over the years and across media, Cat is instantly smitten with the bulky and bespectacled Kent. She succeeds in starting a relationship with him, for a time. Eventually, it’s clear to Clark that Lois is the only one for him, and that his relationship with Cat is based more on saving her from her complicated past than it is any genuine affection or attraction.
14. She’s An Alcoholic, Single Mother
Though she’s been known to down a martini or two before lunch on Supergirl, the Arrowverse version of Cat has never been outright presented as an alcoholic. In the comics, however, it’s a big part of her history. Much as the Cat of the show moved from Metropolis to National City, the Cat of the comics originally hails from Los Angeles. She heads to Metropolis after divorcing her abusive and alcoholic husband, Joe Morgan. Driven to drink by the relationship, she battles the addiction over the years, helped by her son Adam, who accompanies her to Metropolis and remains her last link to her ex-husband.
The show offers up a somewhat strange twist on this narrative by having her son be a young boy named Carter, and Adam being a secret child she had with an unknown man with the last name of Foster, who seems to share the same traits as Morgan in the comics. After a drawn-out court battle, she eventually cedes custody to the boy’s father and leaves that part of her life behind, until a meddling Kara reunites the two in National City (and also briefly dates Cat’s estranged son, just to throw a little bit of soap opera action in for good measure).
13. Cat’s Appeared Across DC Animation
Throughout her nearly 30 years of existence, Cat Grant has popped up in a number of animated projects from DC Comics. On the film side of things, she’s only had two microscopic roles, in Superman: Unbound and in the DC Animated Universe adaptation of Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. Her character received a bit more screentime on the fan-favorite series Young Justice, where she appeared a number of times as a reporter for WGBS-TV, the same network she often works for in the comics. In the series, she was often found reporting during supervillain attacks, something that also mirrors her later years in print.
Cat Grant nearly appeared in WB’s Superman: The Animated Series, but was later reworked into original character Angela Chen, a reporter of black and Asian descent, in an effort to add more diversity to the series. Though many of Cat’s traits were retained for Chen, the producers decided to nix her infatuation with Clark Kent.
12. She Hired A Costumed Vigilante As A Bodyguard
While it may seem odd for a gossip columnist to require a bodyguard, Cat has a long history of making enemies. In an attempt to impress her boss Perry and prove to her coworkers Lois and Clark that she could be every bit the reporter that they were, Cat decided to go undercover at Galaxy Broadcasting System. Clark had been tasked with proving that Galaxy boss Morgan Edge was actually the head of Intergang, a group of mobsters equipped with cosmic-tech from the Apokolips-based New Gods (AKA Darkseid and company), and Cat wanted to help him.
Following the exposé, Grant feared for her life from the souped-up mobsters, so she hired Jose Delgado to protect her. Delgado, debuting a few months after Grant in Adventures Of Superman #428, was also the vigilante Gangbuster, and, like Batman, found himself compelled to clean up the streets of his crime-ridden neighborhood. The two later become romantically involved, but they called it off as Cat’s son Adam didn’t want anyone replacing his father.
11. Cat Reported The Death Of Superman
After posing as an employee of Galaxy Broadcasting, Cat eventually earned an actual job from their subsidiary, WGBS-TV. Starting as an on-air reporter, she soon landed her own talk show, fittingly titled “The Cat Grant Show.” Likely due to her relationship with Clark, Cat was able to land a rare interview with Superman, shortly after the Justice League reformed.
It’s during a commercial break that the studio gets word of a monstrous creature rampaging across Ohio. Superman takes off to confront the beast, revealed to be Doomsday, and their fight eventually winds up in Metropolis. Cat’s appointed to be the reporter on the scene for WGBS, and she covers the fight up until its conclusion, which leaves both Doomsday and Superman dead.
Though her character didn’t appear during the similar turn of events in Batman v Superman, the reporting in the comics soon saw move Cat up to primetime on the network. There, she continues reporting on the fallout from Superman’s death and covers “The Reign of The Supermen”, which sees a number of other figures vie to take the Man of Steel’s place as Metropolis’ protector.
10. She Hired Jimmy Olsen To Work With Her
Jimmy Olsen is a name nearly synonymous with Clark Kent and Lois Lane. A long-serving friend to Clark and sort-of sidekick to Superman, Olsen is the Daily Planet’s ace photographer. Though Supergirl tweaks a number of pieces of lore when it comes to the character’s’ comic history, the Jimmy Olsen of the show is still a well-known photographer who works at the Daily Planet and is pals with Superman. At the beginning of the series, however, we see him leave Metropolis and head to National City, in an effort to get a fresh start. Once there, he’s hired as the creative director for CatCo and develops a budding relationship with Kara.
In the comics, Cat Grant also eventually hires Olsen to work with her. This time, it’s at WGBS-TV, where the two work together closely on a number of stories. And while Olsen doesn’t date Kara, he is smitten with Cat from the moment he meets her during her first appearance in the comics. The attraction is never returned, though, and the two remain close friends and peers.
9. Her Son Was Killed By Winslow Schott
On Supergirl, Winslow “Winn” Schott, Jr. (called Anton in the comics) isn’t the supervillain known as Dollmaker, but his father is the criminal mastermind who styles himself as Toyman. True to his murderous nature on the show, Winslow Schott has proven to be a far more dangerous adversary in the comics than his benign named would suggest.
While out celebrating her son’s birthday, Adam Grant is kidnapped by one of Toyman’s robots that’s been designed to look like the villain. The authorities soon learn that Toyman has kidnapped a number of children when they discover many of their bodies in Suicide Slum, all having been viciously murdered by Schott’s creation. Cat identifies her son Adam’s body, and the horror of the event almost drives her back into alcoholism. Instead, she redoubles her focus on her work and eyes revenge on the monster who took the one person she loved above all else.
8. She Almost Killed Toyman
Having recently returned to life, Clark was off with Lois in Paris during Toyman’s reign of terror. Once he returns to Metropolis, however, Superman quickly apprehends Toyman and sends him to jail. Cat grabs her gun and heads to police station, intending to kill Schott, but has a change of heart when she passes a toy store. She still slips into the police station, however, and confronts Toyman. Rather than begging for forgiveness, Schott attempts to blame Cat for being a drunk and a bad mother. When she pulls the gun on him, he swiftly changes tack and begs for his life. Cat pulls the trigger, revealing the gun to be a toy, and leaves the station feeling a new sense of empowerment.
Years later, while being questioned by Jimmy Olson, Schott confesses that the Toyman who killed Adam and the other children was actually the malfunctioning robot that originally kidnapped the kids, made to replace Schott should he ever be captured. While he claims he’d never harm a child, the true story is left in doubt as Toyman is regularly shown to suffer from delusions and bouts of insanity.
7. Cat Grant Had A Recurring Role On Lois And Clark
Long before Tyler Hoechlin donned the red boots and cape, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman was TV audiences’ source for a live-action version of the Man of Steel. Lois and Clark was designed as more of a romantic drama that just happened to feature superpowers. During the first season, Tracy Scoggins appeared as a hyper-sexualized version of Cat Grant, constantly trying to seduce Clark and steal him away from Lois Lane. She even once went so far as to convince him that the two were lovers while Clark was suffering from a standard case of TV amnesia.
She was often portrayed as a stereotypical “man-chaser,” always flirting and wearing revealing clothes. These traits would later be grafted onto her in the 2000s during her appearance in Action Comics. Once the second season rolled around, however, the producers and writers seemed to tire of the character, as she was dropped from the cast with no explanation for where she’d gone.
6. She Served As President Luthor’s Press Secretary
While both of those concepts may seem odd to those not familiar with the comics, DC fans (and Smallville viewers alike) are well aware that the villainous Lex Luthor once served as President of the United States. Once he was elected, he hired the savvy Cat Grant to serve as his Press Secretary. Given her history and track record as a reporter covering some of the most harrowing events in Metropolis’ history, it’s not really a surprise that Luthor would see Cat as a valuable addition to his cabinet. With her no-nonsense persona and dogged attitude, she made the perfect media face for someone as notorious as Lex.
Naturally, though, the Presidency of Lex Luthor wasn’t meant to last, and he was eventually impeached. Upon losing her job, Cat decided to return to her roots and head back to her native Los Angeles, where she began work at a gossip paper fittingly known as the Los Angeles Tattler.
5. Cat’s New To The World Of Supergirl
Over the course of Kara Danvers’s time at both CBS and the CW, Cat Grant has been an important fixture of the Supergirl mythos in the Arrowverse. Not only has she served as a mentor for Kara, but Cat will remind anyone that she can about how she “launched” Supergirl. Given their interconnection, those unfamiliar with the comics may be under the impression that Cat Grant has long been a player in Supergirl’s world, but their interactions are actually relatively new.
When Sterling Gates began his new Supergirl series in 2008, he did so with the intention of integrating Kara Zor-El more seamlessly into the world of Metropolis and Superman. In doing so, he decided to build her supporting cast up with various characters from Clark’s world, namely Lana Lang and Cat Grant. In doing so, he hoped to set Cat up as a foil for both Supergirl and Kara, something the show decided to use in their portrayal of the gossip columnist-turned-reporter.
4. Cat Grant Appeared In The Later Seasons Of Smallville
Having appeared in many of Superman and Supergirl’s various media incarnations over the years, it was only a matter of time before Cat Grant showed up on Smallville. In fact, Cat appeared in two very different versions of the teen-focused series. When she first arrived, it was early in season 9. Clark was attempting to get a job hosting a morning TV show and tried to prove his bonafides by creating a piece about online dating. For his research, he went on a date with one Cat Grant, here shown to be a member of the Peace Corps. who is working on two degrees. This drastically different take on Cat eventually landed the job, as she was also angling for it, and the actor was never seen again as the producers decided to replace her when she appeared the next season.
In season 10, Keri Lynn Pratt arrived at the Daily Planet as a more comics-accurate version of the character, this time partnering up with Clark as a reporter while Lois is away. The writers even addressed the other Cat by having Pratt’s character say the whole thing was a coincidence, though it’s later revealed she changed her name to Cat Grant in order to protect her son. Most notably, her character eventually takes a hard line on Metropolis’s rise in vigilante activity, decrying their actions and fanning the city’s fears that they’re taking focus away from “real heroes” like the police.
3. Flockhart Has Previously Worked With Greg Berlanti
For many, Greg Berlanti is as important of a name in the Arrowverse as Oliver Queen or Barry Allen. As one of the producers and creators behind Arrow, The Flash, and Legends Of Tomorrow, Berlanti is also responsible for making Supergirl a reality, alongside Ali Adler and fellow Arrowverse producer Andrew Kreisberg. Though they all likely share equal duties, Berlanti has long been seen as the face for all of the shows; the one who oversees all of their tones and mythologies, similar to Kevin Feige’s role in the MCU. As one of the busiest men working in TV, though, Berlanti has done more than just usher superheroes into primetime television.
Back in 2006, Berlanti served as a producer on ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, which saw Calista Flockhart starring as one of the titular sisters. On the show, she played a conservative activist, and it’s likely her fiery demeanor and gruff mannerisms on the series that her left her fresh in Berlanti’s mind when he was casting the similarly-styled Cat Grant for Supergirl.
2. She Originally Hated Supergirl
Anyone tuning into Supergirl this season may be surprised to learn that the Cat Grant of the comics originally wasn’t a fan of the Girl of Steel. In fact, she actually hated her. While Cat has always been hard on Kara, an out-and-out hatred seems a bit extreme. Nevertheless, when Cat joined Supergirl’s comic series in 2008, it followed a battle with a metahuman that left Cat injured. Blaming Supergirl for her reckless handling of the situation, and thus for Cat being placed in harm’s way, she began a smear campaign against Kara’s alter-ego in an effort to stain her name among the public of Metropolis.
Their enmity continued for some time, even as Supergirl began working with Cat at the Planet under the name Linda Lang. Eventually, Cat and Supergirl are confronted by the Dollmaker, who reveals himself to be the estranged son of Toyman. The junior Schott bizarrely pitches himself to Cat as a replacement for her son. Cat rejects him, and she and Supergirl are able to stop Dollmaker and rescue the children he’s kidnapped.
1. Cat Grant Was Recently Reborn In DC Comics
True to her many makeovers across comics and TV, it makes sense that DC’s latest comic-wide reboot, titled Rebirth, would give us a new and improved version of Cat Grant. In a move surely based on company synergy, the new run of Supergirl in the comics looks and acts nearly identically to Calista Flockhart’s portrayal. Gone are the revealing outfits and innuendos about breast implants that sadly marred much of her 2000s appearances in the comics. The new Cat Grant is one that will be quite familiar to TV audiences.
Sporting an uncanny resemblance to Flockhart, from her face and hair to her wardrobe, the new Cat Grant also has the wit and personality to match. She spouts quips and delivers witty takedowns of those around her, including giving Supergirl a quick dressing-down when the two first meet in the newly reborn universe. While it’s unknown whether this new Cat will eventually warm to Supergirl and develop a relationship with her similar to her TV counterpart, it’s nice to know that even with Flockhart leaving the series, a version of her Cat Grant will live on in the pages of DC Comics.
Any details from the history of Cat Grant that you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8pm on The CW.
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