Warner Bros. has been very busy lately, reteaming with old associates and inviting new ones in on the game. News today is that the production company has ordered three new series for the CW: J.J. Abrams‘ and Mark Schwahn’s comedy/drama Shelter, sci-fi romance Joey Dakota (produced by Mark Harmon) and dystopian drama The Selection, from a pair of Vampire Diaries producers. Additionally, the network has cast a lead in its new superhero series, Arrow.
I haven’t seen Abrams in a while, but I assume that he has grown a beard, and maybe taken up drinking. Because, after about ten years, Abrams is heaving a sigh and uttering, “We have to go back… to Warner Bros.” Abrams is returning to the company of his old friends to develop a CW series called Shelter. He will be teaming with LOST collaborators Mark Pedowitz (CW President) and Thom Sherman (Executive VP of Drama Development), as well as with One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn to work on this new show.
The WB, the pre-2006 incarnation of the CW, is where Abrams started the television career that would eventually amount to creating a new show every month. Abrams co-created the drama Felicity, a story about a girl who followed the high school crush to college. Since this series, Abrams has become more associated with high-concept thrillers and science-fiction projects, such as Alias, Fringe, his newest shows Person of Interest and Alcatraz, and his most famous television venture, LOST. But Abrams is getting back into the “real world” with this new project he is developing for the CW. Shelter, formerly titled Maine, will study the day-to-day lives of the employees and customers at a New England hotel, and how they intersect dramatically and comedically.
The CW is not limiting itself to the Abrams/Schwahn creation, however. The network is also developing two other projects. One, Joey Dakota, is being written by Bert Royal (Easy A) and will being produced by NCIS leading man Mark Harmon along with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. The project is based on an Israeli series called Danny Hollywood and is described by THR as a “romantic time-travel musical” (already very much sold) about a filmmaker who travels back to the 1990s, falls in love with a destined-to-die rock star, and then is launched back to the present day, where she makes it her mission to re-travel back in time and save the love of her life from his untimely death.
The final project is titled The Selection, and is an hourlong drama/romance based on a developing book series by Kiera Cass. The television project is being written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (The Vampire Diaries). The story will follow the journey of an impoverished girl who, in a dystopian society three centuries into the future, will be chosen via lottery to be the next queen.
In more CW news, the recently greenlit series Arrow has earned itself a star: Stephen Amell, an actor who has primarily worked in recurring guest roles on series like Queer as Folk, Heartland, Private Practice and, most prominently, Hung. Amell will play the lead in the new series, which is a modern-day incarnation of the DC Comics superhero story, Green Arrow. The titular hero is a vigilante who employs his exemplary skills in archery to fight crime when not posing as a Bruce Wayne-esque billionaire playboy socialite, with a bit of Harvey Dent’s politicism in him.