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Warner Bros. Shelves Plans For Wonder Woman TV Revival

Warner Bros. Television has postponed its planned revival of Wonder Woman after the David E. Kelley project failed to find a home at a network this week, Deadline reports. Sources say it was a matter of “unfortunate timing.”

Announced in October, the modern-day reboot would return the DC Comics character to live-action TV for the first time since 1979, when she was famously portrayed by Lynda Carter. The involvement of Kelley, who created such series as Ally McBeal, The Practice and Picket Fences, seemed to buoy hopes for Wonder Woman, whose proposed movie adaptation has toiled in development hell for a decade.

Last month, however, the Emmy-winning writer and producer revealed he hadn’t “necessarily committed” to the superhero project, and was still “trying to figure out if I can make the franchise work for me.”

But Deadline reports the Emmy Award-winning writer and producer completed a pilot script that was shopped to the networks on Wednesday. Fox and Disney-owned ABC, which is developing series based on Marvel’s Incredible Hulk, Cloak & Dagger and Jessica Jones, passed on the project, while WBTV sibling The CW, home to Smallville and possibly DC’s Raven, couldn’t afford it. Executives at CBS, which picked up the original Wonder Woman after ABC decided not to renew it for a second season, were reportedly split, leaving NBC, which is in a transition stage as it awaits its new president of programming Bob Greenblatt.

The script may make the rounds again, somewhere down the road, but this setback means fans definitely won’t see a live-action Wonder Woman next fall, and probably for some time beyond that.


  • Shaun

    As someone who is decidedly “meh” about the idea of a live-action WW, I have mixed feelings about this. The possibility that a WW TV series will suck is very real (see “Smallville”). I appreciate the argument that raising WW’s exposure will be good for the character, but the misrepresentations that can be created and perpetuated by TV or movies are real and considerable. It took a new movie series to rehabilitate Batman and how many people still believe that Diana flies an invisible plane, though the character has not done that in decades?

    Anyway, as I said, mixed feelings on this. A good WW series would be a dream, but I have serious doubts about the ability of David Kelley to do this.

  • Wondertrash

    They also had some trouble finding a suitable actress to fill the role.

  • Sock

    Why would they look for an actress when they didnt even have a studio?

  • Brian from Canada

    The argument about raising exposure is nice, but the real argument is that it’s a character that can work for television at a time when movie options aren’t rushing forth — Green Lantern is being followed by Flash, Batman by Superman, and by the time Justice League gets planned it’s quite likely Batman will be back on screen too. David Kelly could do a decent job of it too, since he has a reputation for getting pilots that work.

    What I find really curious about the whole thing is that WB passed on WW in favour of Raven. WHY? The network is already struggling for viewers, its top rated show (Smallville) is ending, and its newest show Hellcats just got moved to the “death” slot (Tuesday against #1 NCIS). Wonder Woman would certainly be attractive to them, and they shouldn’t have to pay DC rights because they are owned by the same company. Something is really fishy there.

    I mean, ABC we can all understand — they own Marvel. Fox has a string of pilots sewn up. CBS has no spot on their roster, even with Medium gone and maybe one or two others. It was NBC or their own, and when their own declines because of “costs,” there’s something else not being said there.

  • Hysan

    Said it once, I’ll say it again….except for Batman, DC/Warners has a horrible track record when it comes to superhero adaptations.

  • Dswynne1

    My question is why is there a need to even put a show on the networks? Just have a mini-series, stick it into the SyFy channel, and go from there. If it gains traction, then move it up to syndication. That’s how “Xena: Warrior Princess” lasted a long time, and with today’s SPFX, a decent show can be pulled off.

  • Cover55555

    They have to pay rights for a number of reasons as a subsidiary. Licensing fees, evaluating producer and executive pay, the same reason Smallville had that tussle with producers was because of this, recording expenses, legal reasons. Not only that, this has to be done at FMV as its a jointly owned station. So nothing is fishy about it. I really do think a Wonder Woman television show would require lots of money if they want it right.

  • 2000filmfan

    Despite her popularity, durability, and influence Warner refuses to respect Wonder Woman.

    Today news that David E. Kelley’s inability to get his Wonder Woman pilot green lit by any network proves that Warner will not put any real effort behind realizing or promoting the number one greatest and most well-known female super heroine. You may remember current Avengers director Joss Whedon ’s treatment for a Wonder Woman feature film that Warner rejected. Far more prolific Disney/Warner sees fit to support Whedon’s attempts at their properties yet Warner continues to evade fan requests for a Wonder Woman’s feature film.

    In terms of the character’s durability, as a character she is far older than Thor, Hulk and Spiderman. She’s as old as the big three most mature characters of this kind: Superman, Batman and Captain America. At their respective publishers, each of these characters have 4 to 8 books especially devoted to them; Wonder Woman has only one. Most of the big three’s protégé’s, derivative characters and sidekick’s either have their own comic books and in some cases TV shows; and characters influenced by Wonder Woman’s have none.

    Though DC comics, Warner’s comic distributor, will continue to put out excuses why Wonder Woman and her legacy characters don’t deserve more comic books, TV shows or feature films, while continuing to put out a ever greater assortment of failed comic books, TVs shows and films in circulation. It’s clear that women characters are second-class priority at the company and the heads of these companies will continue to tell us keeping her out of circulation is best for the character.

  • Jacob

    It’s top rated show (last time I checked) was Vampire Diaries. Smallville hasn’t gone above three million, VD hasn’t dropped below 3 mil.

  • Jacob

    They weren’t, we were.

  • stealthwise

    That’s yet another step down from doing a regular tv series, which is already a step down from doing a movie. Warner should have been pushing for a WW movie about ten years ago, when superhero films and media in general were seen as fresh by the viewing public. Unfortunately, Marvel’s saturation of the film industry with garbage like Elektra and Ghost Rider has poisoned that well.

  • Dkfjdkjdk

    If they were to finally start this movie and connect it with Batman and Superman for a JLA universe thing it probably wouldn’t start until the next Bat reboot begins. Given how much time passed between Batman and Robin and Batman Begins (8 years), 2020? GL is a good place to start universe sharing but it already has been confirmed not to link with Snyder’s Superman or Nolan’s bat trilogy. Once Snyder’s Superman movies conclude if they make three (2016?), it will take a good long awhile from the to replcate Marvel’s Avengers shared movie universe. Which is probably good for toy companies and DC’s comic business. A new comic movies pretty much drive merch sales of any media these days, if done correctly…*Cough* The Dark Knight/FInal Crisis

  • Steel Sterling

    When I read that NBC declined Wonder Woman due to costs, I thought, “That’s what happens when the now ousted Jeff Zucker wasted all that money effin’ over Conan O’Brien.” Now they’re forced to watch their dollars more after having to pay off Conan and the other costs that whole late night fiasco yielded.

    I see this as a blessing, to be honest. Wonder Woman is better suited for the big screen. The execs need to realize that unlike most other comic book heroines, Wonder Woman is THE comic book heroine as well as an icon. There are legions of fans of all stripes who want a big screen Wonder Woman and would line up in droves to see that movie. Men who want a sexy and strong Wonder Woman movie, females who look up to the character and see her as the ultimate female fictional icon she is. Even gays who look up to the character are legion. And that’s not even counting the casual moviegoing general public outside of any and all Wonder Woman fandom. Those people who know of the character that would check out the movie too.

    Wonder Woman is better suited for the big screen anyway. A tv series could work, but won’t do her justice. The studio execs seem to need to get out of their tunnel vision and see the potential with a Wonder Woman movie. And please use the classic versions of the costume. NOT the Jim Lee redesign. I love Lee’s work, but that design is too 90s and just NOT Wonder Woman. Use a combination of Terry Dodson’s designs from the current run of the comics (the first issues) and maybe some of the way she looked in Alex Ross’ interpretations of the character. The costume she wore in the majority of Kingdom Come with the flaps over the trunks would work great.
    Please excuse the length of this, but I’m in writer-mode these days as well as a passionate Wonder Woman fan. ;)

  • RunnerX13

    FYI, it has not been decades since Wonder Woman used her invisible plane, it was last seen in post-Infinite Crisis title relaunch.

  • StormMunroe

    Its Fawking Wonder Woman! What is the hold up! Get It Done!

  • WonkyWondy

    Wondy is cursed! The oldest female superhero is not getting any respect! First the movie and now the tv show. Don’t even get me started with the comics, esp., the recent JMS reboot.

  • The One & Only

    Also, the one hang up many an actress seem to have with playing Wonder Woman , is the star spangled bottoms. Makes them look like their too pro-American. Hence the recent outfit change in the comic.

  • nailsin

    Surprise surprise.

  • Greg

    They need to abandon this Live Action obsession and do an animated series. WB has a good record with animated shows, and a 1 hour WW project aimed at the adult market just might break the “kiddie curse” on animation.

    Animation is the proper home for superhero shows in any event.

  • Steel Sterling

    The problem is that there’s still a preconceived notion in our society that all cartoons, like comics, are for kids. Yet those people that make that notion tend to be people who haven’t either watched certain animated series or read a comic in years to move beyond that perception. Unfortunately there are still a lot of those people around.
    Gearing Wonder Woman toward an exclusively adult market would exclude kids, while on the other side of that coin, gearing it exclusively toward kids would exclude adults.
    If there were a Wonder Woman animated series, it’d be best done in the spirit of animated shows like Justice League, in my opinion. For both kids and adults.
    Me? I want both live action Wonder Woman as well as animated! ;)
    I loved the Wonder Woman animated dvd from ’09! Great stuff! Watch it all the time.

  • Mr. M

    I’m not a programming expert, but the first-run syndication game has changed so much since the Xena/Hercules days (was that almost 20 years ago?) that what you propose is much more difficult than it sounds, even if it gained traction on Syfy. Not impossible, just difficult.

  • Big Balls Baduchi

    Wonder Woman sucks as a character and her relevance is gone. Let her die.

  • Anonymous

    You’re an idiot who’s afraid of women who will most likely remain virgin.

    Crawl out of your mother’s basement, get your nose out of comic books, toys, and online gaming, join a gym and get in shape.

    Maybe then a woman might want to touch a troll like you if she gets drunk enough.

  • Sageshinigami

    Meh. Movies for superheroes can turn out well, but they’re SERIAL characters. Single adventures > continuous story. I wanted a big name superhero in the proper format.

    Incidentally, WW’s costume, minus the jacket, is decent. I’d rather see that.

  • demoncat_4

    sad. i was looking forward to seeing wonder woman back on tv. though surprised the cw passe don it for if nothing else they could use the show as another replace ment for smallville to go with Raven. and can see ABc pass due to Disney wanting to develop Marvel characters. though the cw should still consider maybe if nothing else see if they can do wonder woman as replacement if raven tanks. maybe negoate a way to afford it .

  • caesars ghost

    Does not say much about Warner Bros. or DC now does it?
    they want to compete with Marvel in the movie or tv arena but lack any real cajones to really launch an agressive attempt of any sort.
    when you can’t do anything with a character who is known in every household and pretty much universal.
    Hey ! turn Wonder Woman over to Marvel and see just how swiftly they could capitilize on it!!!
    lord knows i’m not a Marvel fan but I know a company that can do things and have them turn to gold and apparently that is MARVEL!!!!!

  • eh

    Wonder woman only has one comic devoted to her because she doesnt sell comics as well as those other charcters you mentioned

  • Joe S. Walker

    Too silly for words.

  • Joe S. Walker

    The only way a Wonder Woman TV show or film would be entertaining would be to play it like the original comics, as kinky camp fun. I seriously think the lead casting should be a guy in drag.

  • Steve Rogers

    Wonder Woman is not popular, has never been popular, and never will be popular. She’s a trademark, nothing more.

  • 2000filmfan


    I’m glad you brought that up.

    If you pay attention to recent history, when DC wants a character to soar they attach Geoff Johns to the book and the efforts are made to: 1. Expand the number of books, 2. Exploit and redefine previously mediocre co-stars and support characters, and build 3. Provocative new story lines that previous were not conceived. I’m going to save myself the effort of retelling what happened with Green Lantern over the last three years and ask you to look at the Flash as an example of the same strategies being used once again.

    If that’s too complex for you, look at the work that Marvel has done, using other creators, in the last two years to strengthen and expand the Hulk and Captain American franchises. With Red Hulk and Bucky Cap, Marvel is working over time to expand those character franchises.

    Basically, if you want a character to be huge you have to do more than support a character’s limits and or the conventions that surround them.

    P.S. Wonder Woman out sold the Flash by one season on TV and I see little reason why she could not be an even bigger character than she already is in comics. Unfortunately she would need DC to think that’s a good idea, and as I have suggested I don’t think that is likely to happen.

  • Dswynne1

    I understand what you’re saying, but small budgeted programming does not mean low quality of programming. You’re right in the since that WB/DC should have been promoting WW a long time ago, at the height of the bad-ass, female warrior, along with Xena, La Femme Nikita, Queen of Hearts, HL: The Raven, and, of course, Buffy the Vampire story. I say the SyFy channel route is the best way to go because there is so little expectations to have a quality of programming, that someone talented enough can turn a profit by developing a cult following, not to mention lowering costs at the same time. And today’s special effects are such that the only thing you need is an up-and-coming actress who can act to make the final product believable. Heck, by today’s standards, the original WW series with Lynda Carter is sub-par with today’s production value, but it was the actress itself that made the program an endearing hit. Plus, there are would-be film makers out there who want to get a chance to do business in Hollywood, and some of them are quite good. If, in my opinion, DC was smart, they would interview some of these newcomers, and choose one who can pull off a mini-series of sorts. It ain’t going to cost WB/DC a dime, and they can always reboot things. But, that’s me.

  • Zen Strive

    Aw shucks!

  • OrionRyking

    DC needs to realize that Wonder Woman has gone the way of Namor; USED to be popular way back in the day, but not so much anymore

  • Saber Tooth Tiger Mike

    “when you can’t do anything with a character who is known in every household and pretty much universal.”
    I think the “guys who are afraid of women” are correct. Wonder Woman used to be popular , and that was ONLY because of the 70s television show that people only over the age of thirty five remember and Warner Brothers’ licensing department.

  • Family and Lifestyle

    Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.