‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ will not be materializing on The CW after all. Based on the Archie Comics concept, ‘Sabrina’ was intended to be a companion to existing hit ‘Riverdale’, but for undisclosed reasons, it has moved to Netflix, who placed a hefty 20-episode, two-season order. The two seasons will shoot back to back beginning in February. Season One will wrap by June and Season Two will shoot from June until October. No word yet on when it will become available to stream.
It’s no surprise that Netflix jumped at this series, as ‘Riverdale’ proved to be a massive hit for the service this summer. ‘Riverdale”s first 13-episode season aired as a midseason replacement on The CW, but ratings weren’t massive. But once it hit Netflix, the show exploded into a pop culture phenomenon among its target teen audience. Season Two’s ratings are 60% higher thanks to the summer boom.
In October, following the second season premier, The CW executive vp marketing and digital Rick Haskins said:
“Probably more people watched it on Netflix thinking it was a Netflix show. Our real challenge was taking those viewers and moving them over to The CW.”
The CW and Warner Brothers had a list of lead actors for ‘Sabrina’, but that is being revisited now, not just due to the change in venue, but also the demands of shooting 20 episodes over the span of nine months.
The title’The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, which is the title of the source comic book series, may or may not serve as the name of the show. The show is a dark take on the character’s origin, with ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Exorcist’ cited as influences. Sabrina will struggle with her half-human, half-witch nature while using her powers to protect her friends, family and the rest of the world from dark forces. With this firm order in place, the writers room will open on Monday.
The pilot was written by ‘Riverdale’ showrunner and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also happens to be the chief creative officer of Archie Comics. Aguirre-Sacasa will also direct the pilot. The ‘Riverdale’ exec producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Lee Toland Krieger and Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater will be on board for ‘Sabrina’ as well, with Berlanti Productions (based at Warner Brothers) producing.
Before ‘Riverdale’ debuted, Aguirre-Sacasa stated:
“One of the nice things about me being a part of Archie Comics is having access to a library of 4,000 to 5,000 characters. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats … those are characters who can very easily support their own show. But we [also] have superheroes. So in success, yes, the goal is to expand that way.”
‘Riverdale’ has delved into the publisher’s superhero side this season with the mystery of the Black Hood, a vintage Archie super character and with Archie establishing a teen vigilante task force called the Red Circle, the name of the banner under which Archie Comics published its superhero titles.
Could there eventually be an Archie-based version of the Arrowverse? (Let’s be honest, the creators of ‘Riverdale’ have been struggling with forcing Josie and the Pussycats in from the start.)
For Berlanti, this is another type of victory. ‘Sabrina’ marks the eleventh series he currently has either airing or in development, a new record.
Are you sad that ‘Sabrina’ won’t be joining the ‘Riverdale’ gang on The CW? Or are you more excited by the opportunity to stream the series in large chunks (or in its entirety) all at once on Netflix?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter