WONDER WOMAN TV Pitch Fails To Sell, Shelved

Back in October we told you that legendary television producer David E. Kelly was developing a live action television revival of Wonder Woman with Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment.

This past Wednesday, as comic fans were making their way through their stacks of new books, the show made the rounds at the networks. Deadline has the whole story but it breaks down like this:

FOX passed but that was expected. Next, Wonder Woman was pitched to The CW, the sister network of Warner Bros. Television. They were interested but passed due to budgetary concerns. Uh oh. So then Kelly went to ABC, which was considered a good fit for the show. But ABC passed. Why? Disney owns ABC and they now own Marvel and they are in the midst of developing several TV shows based on Marvel properties. One show in particular — the one that would star Jessica Jones — was considered too similar to Wonder Woman. That left CBS and NBC. According to Deadline, the CBS development execs were split over Wonder Woman and ended up passing, and NBC's current executive regime change made pitching the show impossible.

So where did Wonder Woman end up? Back on the shelf, where so many great scripts reside. I spent a little bit of time in television development about ten years ago — that shelf is big.

Deadline notes that it's possible that Kelly will make the rounds with his Wonder Woman show again sometime in the future but I'm not holding my breath.

The biggest thing that I take from this story is that now that Marvel is owned by a company that also owns a major American television network (The CW is, unfortunately, not a major network), the options that DC Entertainment has to sell TV shows are much more limited. And you can bet that DC Entertainment wants to start selling a lot more TV shows.


  1. muddi900 says:

    Its all for the better. There hasn’t been a Kelley show that has been watchable after the first season.

  2. Heroville Heroville says:

    Why not cable? Go to HBO or Syfy with this.

  3. purplehulk purplehulk says:

    Two words: Cartoon Network.  Just make an animated tv show already, and then think about getting Joss Whedon back on board for a movie.

  4. Oh Wonder Woman, you just can’t be relevant ANYWHERE can you?

  5. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    *sigh* I feel like this wouldn’t depress me as much if that Wonder Woman animatted movie from a few years ago wasn’t so friggin’ fantastic. Now I KNOW that can make a good WW TV show or movie, but it may not happen for a while. Bummer.

  6. joeislive joeislive says:

    In a way i’m sort of glad. Wondy deserves to be on the big screen. Hopefully, some exec will realize this and skip tv (for the moment anyway) and focus on bringing the biggest most famous female super hero to life in a big budget feature length film. It just boggles my mind how this hasn’t happened already when so many B and C list characters get their own movies. Sigh….SIGH I SAY!

  7. @muddi900:  I beg to differ.  The Practice was good for several seasons, and Boston Legal had more than one good season.  

  8. SamIAm says:

    I really did hope that this was going to work. I thought it was a shoe-in at the CW since Smallville is ending. Guess not. What is it about Wonder Woman that people don’t want see see her on the big and small screen? Is her character too dated? Too hard understand with the greek backround? She doesn’t have the same recognition as other super heroes? I don’t know. A guess anyone?

  9. origamikid origamikid says:

    @SamIAm  She’s just a bit boring I think. The JMS reboot in comics has failed somewhat now a few issues in, she doesn’t tent to translate well to other mediums either. Whenever she turns up in Animated shows it’s less, “awesome who brought Wonder Woman” and more like “Jesus H Christ who invited her to the party?”

    Although just a point; the Wonder Woman show was going to be too much like a show based on the MAX series Alias?

  10. This is just disappointing.

  11. SummerSleep SummerSleep says:

    I think if DC learns from this, and says hey, let’s focus on animated programming, that could be so much more lucrative as a business venture. If they could do what Marvel is doing with the Avengers and Superhero squads, and pair it with well written kids comics pushed out in trade through the book store market, fucking gangbusters.

  12. Neb Neb says:

    It’s disappointing for people that wanted this show to happen, but for me, I couldn’t be more uninterested in a WW TV show.

  13. Arrrggghhh Arrrggghhh (@Arrrggghhh) says:

    Agree with you, PurpleHulk.  CW would be the best place to promote WW. Especially after seeing the fantastic fight scenes with Wonder Woman (and Supergirl) in the animated movie “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”. (If you haven’t seen this, it’s now available for streaming on Netflix. Highly Recommended.)

  14. Arrrggghhh Arrrggghhh (@Arrrggghhh) says:

    Ooops – meant CN.
    Too early on a Saturday morn . . .  

  15. muddi900 says:

    @PhantomPhrenemy :

    Did you find the lazy writing more endearing or the revolving door of second bananas in crisis that nobody gave two shits about?

  16. zattaric zattaric says:

    @origamikid  I just think that’s your point of view.  Whenever WW shows up unexpectedly in another show or series I do go “Yes! Wonder Woman!”  I was more than pleased at the huge role that Diana played in Superman/Batman Apocalypse movie.  

  17. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Aw, and I’d been hoping for a fun new live action Wonder Woman like Erica Cerra (Eureka). 

  18. @SamIAm  –i think she’s dated, especially with her name. I can see how average people would NOT think of her as a strong female character and nothing more than a babe in a skimpy outfit. I don’t think Wonder Woman has a very strong presence anymore, and if you don’t read comics, then you just think of her as a cheessy and ironic 80s flashback, so thats working against her.  

    funny side story that only matters to me, but we were shopping with my 5 yr old neice and there were some kiddie T shirts, i asked her who she wanted to be, Wonder Woman or Supergirl… she said.”SUPAGIRL, SUPAGIRL!!!!!!”

  19. SamIAm says:

    @origamikid  I would have to disagree about her role in animated shows. To me, she had one the strongest parts of the JL & JLU animated series & The New Frontier movie, but it was more as a supporting chartacter and not a main one. For some reason she can not do as well on her own. (Her animated movie being the only exception.)

    I think I may give the new series a try to just see what it is like. I want to try a Wonder Woman comic after all of this talk to get more of an idea of what she is like.

  20. Well when the company that owns Wonder Woman (that might come out wrong) is struggling just trying to make her relevant, that pretty much is the answer you need when you’re wondering why she can’t get a film or tv show.

  21. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    @ multiple.  Cable is the way to go, its just depressing that it is still not respected enough, even after walking dead. 

  22. BC1 BC1 says:

    Hm. The CW is co-owned by Warner Bros. DC is wholly owned by Warner Bros. How is this not an auto-fit? I know that Warner Bros. TV produces shows for other networks (most notably CBS), but come on. Cartoon Network might be a possibility; it’s also part of the Warner family, and they’ve done some live action recently. This is an area where Disney has really excelled since the Marvel merger- moving as much of the movie properties under Disney studioes as possible, Marvel animation on Disney XD, Tron-themed comics covers, even an Avengers-themed cover of ESPN the Magazine. And TV development with ABC. Come on, DC. Start integyzing or synergrating or whatever it is businesses do these days.

  23. @muddi900:  I wasn’t speaking so much to character development as how I think David E. Kelly writes amazing closing arguments and that his shows deal with current events in a timely manner and are thought-provoking.  I also thought the James Spader / William Shatner dynamic was rare to find in any TV show past or present.  If you wanna talk smack about Ally McBeal, or how insipid the “second banana” characters are, far be it from me to stand in your way.

  24. @SamIAm  Try the recent Gail Simone run on WW, the Genocide arc went on a little long, but Simone had a really good grasp on WW and I miss her on the title.  I hear that some of the John Byrne run was good as well.

  25. JNewcomb JNewcomb says:

    @SamIAm  I’e really enjoyed the latest WW arc!

  26. ARead ARead says:

    @ed209AF  A Cable series could be cool, TV audiences love the whole ‘a man out of time’ story.  But think about the props department…. they’d have to sew SO MANY pouches.  hehehe….

    But seriously, it will be interesting to see how both major publishers being owned by huge multimedia corporations affects which properties get picked up and where.  How will this affect smaller publishers pitching their properties?  And, finally, will I ever learn the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ and know when the use of either is appropriate?

  27. bansidhewail bansidhewail says:

    CW may not be a “major” per se, but neither was FOX for a long time, and it arguably put out its highest quality work in those days.  CW is the same.  Their numbers may be smaller, but they try a lot harder than their higher-grossing competitors.  My top 5 favorite shows are all on the CW.

  28. froggulper says:

    It makes no sense for there not to have been a live-action WW property in 35 years. Ridiculous. You have a property that STILL have name-recognition like this, and you can’t get ONE show and or (non-animated) movie out there in damn near two generations? WTF is wrong with DC, the studios and the networks.

    Then you have all networks (except CBS) who for the last two decades have put obscure and/or fabricated “super-hero” shows on TV. But they wouldn’t bite for Wonder Woman? I thought name-recognition and built-in fans was half the battle? You ask anyone, old or young, to name a female superhero, and odds a big majority is still going to say Wonder Woman. But Fox would put out something called “Dark Man” 15 years ago, but they’d keep passing on Wonder Woman. And ABC will make something called American Family or whatever. And NBC is making that 3rd-rate Kick-Ass knock-off. But they won’t go for Wonder Woman?

    The “cheesiness” of the character isn’t a problem. Just do it a BIT tongue-in-cheek (not those cheeks!) like so many other girl-power properties (Charlies Angels, Xena). Modify the costume a BIT. It’s not THAT hard!

  29. kennyg kennyg says:

    @Heroville  Syfy probably doesn’t have the budget to do a show like this well. That’s what killed Galactica – it was too expensive. Maybe if they would commit their money to good quality projects instead of those horrible original movies (Mansquito? Mega Snake? Come on!). Bad effects, terrible acting, washed up stars… it’s like flushing good money down the toilet.

    I would LOVE to see a well-done WW TV show. I am a huge WW fan and I think they could do a lot with her. Look at the mythological tie-ins Rucka did on his run – great stuff. Some of the Gail Simone stuff was decent, but things dragged on too long, and some of it was very choppy (I felt like a panel or even a page was missing here or there). But there is a lot of great stuff to draw from.