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Melissa Benoist Cast as CBS’ ‘Supergirl’

CBS has found its “Supergirl” in “Glee” alum Melissa Benoist. The hourlong drama pilot was written by Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler, and hails from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

The eponymous series centers on Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, who escaped from Krypton amid the planet’s destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she’s been hiding the powers she shares with her famous relative. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Supergirl” is the latest DC Comics-based show to emerge from Berlanti’s stable; the in-demand producer also oversees “Arrow” and “The Flash” for CBS sister net the CW. The drama was given a series commitment in September. Kara has previously been portrayed on the bigscreen by Helen Slater, and appeared on the CW’s Superman origin series “Smallville” in the guise of Laura Vandervoort.

CBS chair Nina Tassler shared her first impressions of the project at the network’s recent TCA Winter Press Tour presentation: “She embodied so many of the characteristics of classic female heroines on the network… We fell in love with the pitch.” At the time, casting was not yet complete, but Tassler told reporters, “We’re looking for quality, charisma. She’s got to be everywoman.” The character’s iconic costume has been designed by Colleen Atwood, who also created the updated looks for Stephen Amell’s Arrow and Grant Gustin’s Flash. (Gustin is a fellow “Glee” alum, and Adler formerly wrote and produced the musical series.)

While TV has been dominated by male comic book heroes in the years since Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman” went off the air, a number of female-led properties are currently in production; ABC recently premiered “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring Hayley Atwell; The CW will debut “iZombie,” with Rose McIver, in March; and Netflix is currently in development on “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” played by Krysten Ritter.

Benoist can currently be seen in the Oscar-nominated “Whiplash,” which is up for five Academy Awards, including best picture. She will next appear in the feature film “The Longest Ride,” alongside Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood. It will bow in theaters on April 12.

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