EXCLUSIVE: "Hercules" Returns in New Marvel Series by Abnett & Ross
Wondering if Marvel would ever do anything with their new Disney connections to move onto the small screen? The answer may have come in the form of Jeph Loeb being announced as the company’s new Head of Television.
Loeb’s appointment (His official title is Executive Vice President, Head of Television, apparently) will see the current Hulk, Ultimate X and Ultimate New Ultimates – that name never gets less funny – and former writer/producer for Heroes, Lost and Smallville placed in charge of developing new Marvel content for both television and direct-to-DVD releases, both live action and animation, silencing those of us wondering when Marvel would try to come up with a Smallville of their own. Such a move makes sense; whatever fans’ feelings towards Loeb’s comic work or Heroes – and I think the reaction to both could, at best, be described as “occasionally unfavorable” – Loeb has a solid background in both the television industry and the Marvel Universe, as well as connections in both worlds that will, I presume, make getting good people to work on future projects relatively easy.
But what kinds of projects will we see? And where? At the time of the Marvel buyout, a lot was made out of Disney’s desire to use Marvel to strengthen their grip on the teenage boy market – A desire that led to Disney retooling their Toon Disney channel as Disney XD to facilitate – so it’s a fair bet that we’ll see Marvel content there (Presumably the new Spider-Man cartoon and, perhaps, future seasons of Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes and Super-Hero Squad once their current network deals run out).
But what about elsewhere? The mention of live-action in the press release suggests network television to me. Corporate sibling ABC makes sense on paper, but getting a Marvel project on there may be tricky, considering the network’s tempestuous relationship with genre material not called Lost in the past, not to mention that they already have a superhero show starting this season devoid of any Marvel connections (No Ordinary Family, in case you’re wondering). Similarly, NBC has The Cape starting next season, as well as Heroes hovering around in limbo, which leaves the CW, Fox and CBS in terms of broadcast networks… which, realistically, let’s face it, leaves Fox. Admittedly, Fox would be a good match for Marvel, in terms of audience and tone, and the two companies have something of a relationship through their movie divisions already, so… perhaps a potential pairing there would make sense?
Also, talk of live-action television suggests that maybe this rumor was a little off-base – After all, doesn’t a half hour (or hour) television program sound a little more realistic an introduction to new characters and concepts than 10-minute shorts accompanying non-Marvel main features in the cinema? And yet, it’ll give Marvel a similarly low-budget “in” for new characters, but with more chance of success – and, more importantly, more chance of making money back on their investment.
None of this, of course, is likely to appease those who’ve already decided that Jeph Loeb in charge of anything can mean anything other failure (And I know you’re out there)… But to those, I have one thing to say: It’ll be really hard for anything Marvel TV comes up with to be any worse than this previous effort: