After disheartening news that David E. Kelley's Wonder Woman series reboot had been denied by all five major TV networks, NBC has flip-flopped and decided to order a pilot after all.
NBC's new primetime chairman Robert Greenblatt, who is joining the network in anticipation of the Comcast-NBC merger, was probably behind the about-face.
Various efforts to develop a Wonder Woman live-action movie or TV series have been tried for years, with little success. After the iconic Lynda Carter series in the 1970s, several television and film projects were picked up and dropped through the 80s and 90s. Joel Silver attempted to produce a big-screen version in 2001, Joss Whedon tried again in 2005, and various scripts bounced around Warner Bros. offices for another few years. In October of 2010 Warner Bros. approached David E. Kelley, showrunner of successful series such as Ally McBeal and Boston Public, to spearhead a new Wonder Woman series for network TV.
Despite promising buzz from other DC properties like Batman and Green Lantern, the show had failed to find a home as of just a few weeks ago. NBC was the last network to turn down the project after ABC, Fox, CBS and the CW. But there's new blood in the peacock boardroom in one Robert Greenblatt, who made a name for himself revamping Showtime with ambitious shows like Dexter and Weeds. Greenblatt is taking over for Angela Bromstad as a condition of Comcast's merger with NBC, now in its closing stages. The decision to order the pilot is almost certainly Greenblatt's.
Kelley's version of Princess Diana will probably be quite a bit different from how we're used to seeing her. The original Lynda Carter series and animated shows like Superfriends and Justice League mostly stuck to their DC roots, as did the 2009 direct-to-DVD movie. But given Kelley's pedigree of character-driven dramas including The Practice and Boston Legal, it's likely that the Amazonian will see a revamp not unlike Superman on Smallville. This might be a perfect opportunity to make use of the new costume the character's been sporting in the comics as of late. The only information about the direction of the series comes from Deadline Hollywood:
"Wonder Woman -- aka Diana Prince -- is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life."
While a pilot order doesn't necessarily mean a new series is imminent, it wouldn't be surprising at all. In addition to CW's concluding season of Smallville, ABC has No Ordinary Family and NBC recently debuted its own home-grown hero, The Cape. Ratings for the latter have been disappointing, and NBC may be looking for a more recognizable replacement. Wonder Woman joins other superhero adaptations in development for TV like The Incredible Hulk, Raven, and Jessica Jones.
No cast or crew info is currently available, but given the public's fascination with capes and tights lately, expect more news on Wonder Woman sooner rather than later.