Greg Berlanti Developing ‘Black Lightning’ TV Series

James Akinaka
TV Arrowverse
TV Arrowverse DC

Is there anything Greg Berlanti can’t do? Apparently not, as he’s developing yet another TV series for DC Comics and Warner Bros. Alongside Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, Berlanti is looking to create Black Lightning, a TV series centered on DC superhero Jefferson Pierce. Here’s the longline for the TV pitch:

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.

But who is Jefferson Pierce? And which TV network might end up producing this new series? Let’s take a look at what we know so far.

Who is Black Lightning?

Black Lightning from DC Comics (full)

In 1977, Jefferson Pierce debuted in the comic series Black Lightning at DC Comics. He was one of the company’s first major black superheroes. He has two daughters: Anissa, who became the Outsider known as Thunder; and Jennifer, who joined the Justice Society of America using the name Lightning. At least one of his daughters will be part of the new TV series.

Unfortunately, Black Lightning’s popularity has fluctuated in recent years. He never got his own solo series during DC’s controversial The New 52 reboot. Still, he’s appeared in various animated projects. The most notable ones are season one of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Young Justice season two. If his live-action TV series works out, it will be the first time that the character has his own TV show.

Shopping for a TV Network

Black Lightning will be Greg Berlanti’s seventh TV show currently on air. Four of his shows already belong to the Arrowverse. The Akils are also rising stars within the TV industry, having developed series like the drama Being Mary Jane and the upcoming comedy Documenting Love, which is currently in the pilot stage at ABC.

Yet, which TV network will take Black Lightning? The CW already hosts all four of Berlanti’s Arrowverse shows, with Supergirl as its newest acquisition. Right before Legends of Tomorrow started, The CW President Mark Pedowitz said, “There is no intention, at this point, to spin anything else off.” He reiterated that stance after The CW took over Supergirl from CBS, saying that they would not produce a fifth DC show.

It’s understandable that The CW is getting overwhelmed with the Arrowverse. The network only has 10 hours of original programming each week. The Arrowverse’s four shows thus take up 40% of The CW’s current content. Still, if Black Lightning were to be successful (and I hope it is), The CW would definitely regret passing on it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Berlanti and the Akils will bring us.

James Akinaka
James Akinaka arrives at Fandom by way of Wookieepedia. He covers Star Wars, superheroes, and animation and has mastered the art of nitpicking. Since he works in publishing, he reads far too many books.
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