The Boy Wonder won’t be flying into primetime after all.
The CW and Warner Bros. TV have been forced to scrap their plans for “The Graysons.” Show, which had been given a put pilot commitment, was set to revolve around Batman sidekick Robin in his pre-Caped Crusader days.
Decision to yank the project came from Warner Bros. Pictures Group prexy Jeff Robinov, who initially gave his blessing but changed his mind in recent days.
“Warner Bros. TV never had 100% clearance,” said one exec familiar with the project.
The CW had been counting on “The Graysons” to fill the void left by the likely series end of “Smallville.” Like “Smallville,” “The Graysons” is a superhero origins story. Show was developed to revolve around the world of Dick “DJ” Grayson before taking on the iconic Robin identity.
Project was to be the latest DC Comics franchise to be mined for the smallscreen by Warner Bros. TV. “Smallville” exec producers Kelly Souders and Brian Peterson were set to write and exec produce, while Wonderland Sound and Vision’s McG and Peter Johnson were also aboard to exec produce.
According to studio insiders, Robinov has decreed that Warner Bros. “rethink its DC Comics strategy” and as a result didn’t want to do anything big with a DC franchise at the moment — at least when it came to “Graysons.”
“The studio has opted not to go forward with the development of ‘The Graysons’ at this time as the concept doesn’t fit the current strategy for the Batman franchise,” the studio said in a statement. “Warner Bros. Television is currently working on several replacement options for the CW.”
It’s understood that “The Dark Knight” helmer Christopher Nolan never signed off on the TV show; one insider said the helmer was uncomfortable with having a TV show related to the Batman franchise on the air. But according to the studio, the decision to scrap the show rested solely on Robinov and not Nolan.
Others wondered whether Warner Bros. got nervous over the idea of having a both an active Batman TV series and film series at the same time. “Smallville” and, before that, “Lois & Clark,” were launched during a lengthy hiatus from the bigscreen for Superman. Some believe 2006’s “Superman Returns” was hurt at the box office because of the simultaneous TV show.
A script had not yet been written for “The Graysons,” which was still in early stages of development. Word of “The Graysons” first emerged last month (Daily Variety, Oct. 1) — prematurely, in hindsight.
The one-hour “Graysons” was to be set in modern times and focus on young DJ as he faced challenges involving first loves, young rivals and his family — a famous juggling act — as he grew up. (In Batman lore, Grayson was part of a family act called “The Flying Graysons” and orphaned after a gangster had his parents killed.)
Insiders said Warner Bros. TV is now scanning its library for other potential franchises to develop for the CW. The netlet is already kicking the tires on other franchises for next year, including a revival of CBS Paramount’s “Melrose Place.”
Coincidentally, a new animated Batman series, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” bows on Cartoon Network next Friday.