Small screen: Comic-Con casts superheroes and fairytales; Starz sees stars
San Diego Comic-Con always comes packed with news and announcements for everything in nerd culture, and 2016 did not disappoint. The festival delivered tons of casting news, from iconic superhero and fairytale characters to animated barbarians, as well as exclusive trailers for upcoming shows. Elsewhere this week, Starz broke multiple viewership records, and a Kickstarter endeavor will yield the return of an iconic soap opera character. Read on below:
Network: Team Arrow just got a lot more diverse. Josh Segarra, Chad Coleman and Rick Gonzalez have signed on for recurring roles on the CW superhero show, Arrow. Segarra, who previously starred on USA Network’s comedy Sirens, will join the main cast as a DA named Adrian Chase, who also fights crime as his vigilante persona known as, well, Vigilante. Coleman will play a recurring villain and crime boss, having previously played a major role in The Walking Dead. Gonzalez, jumping board from CW’s Reaper, will play vigilante Wild Dog from the DC comics. Tyler Ritter, Carly Pope and Madison McLaughlin will also join the growing cast.
Other castings revealed at Comic-Con? Keegan Michael-Key will appear in the upcoming Fox comedy Son of Zorn. The comedy, set to premier September 25, features an animated Barbarian adjusting to life on earth among live action humans and settings. Michael-Key will voice one of Zorn’s (presumably animated) warrior buddies.
Once Upon a Time is going to a whole new world, again. A panel at Comic-Con revealed that ABC’s fairytale-based drama will introduce a few Agrabah locals to the show – Oded Fehr and Deniz Akdeniz will be playing Jafar and Aladdin, respectively. Fehr is a veteran from USA Network’s Covert Affairs, while Akdeniz appeared on Graceland from the same network. Following the announcement, Karen David (previously on Galavant) was cast as Princess Jasmine.
Outside of Comic-Con, an extended trailer was released for Oprah Winfrey Network’s upcoming drama, Queen Sugar. Ava DuVernay, best known for directing the Academy Award-nominated Selma, is the show’s creator, director and executive producer. The series will follow the lives of two sisters, played by Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner, one of whom is a star journalist in the city, and the other an inheritor of a sugarcane farm. The series will premier on September 6.
Lastly, production has begun on Victoria Rowell’s TV movie soap opera spoof, The Rich and the Ruthless. Rowell rose to soap opera infamy after playing Drucilla Winters on The Young and the Restless, and writing two popular novels, Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva and Young and the Ruthless. The script, which Rowell described as a cross between Soap Dish and The Office, will see the return of Winters, among other characters from the show. The TV movie moved into production after raising just under $18,000 and counting on Kickstarter.
Online: The superhero news is just getting started. Netflix released the first teaser trailer for its much-anticipated superhero show Luke Cage at Comic-Con. The show is a continuation of the Marvel superhero universe Netflix and Marvel have teamed up to create, which has attracted mass popularity with previous outings Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The trailer showcases the superhuman strength of the titular hero played by Mike Colter, first introduced in last year’s debut season of Jessica Jones.
Netflix also obtained global streaming rights to The People v. O.J. Simpson, the first season to FX’s critically acclaimed American Crime Story. The miniseries depicted the infamous 1995 trial in which Simpson, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., was accused of murdering two people. The show will be available to stream in 2017, and all future seasons of the series will follow.
Cable: Outside of the Comic-Con sphere, Starz is on a power trip. The drama Power, produced by 50 Cent and Courtney Kemp Adboh, attracted 2.26 million viewers for its third season premier on July 17. That’s the most-watched episode of a Starz original show, ever. The spike in viewership is the result of moving the show’s timeslot from Saturday to Sunday night; the debut was up 47% from the season two finale, which had aired in the previous time slot. The premier handily shatters the record for most-watched season premier, which beat out Outlander’s second season premier by 47%.
That’s not the only Starz record broken this week. Comedy Survivor’s Remorse aired its third season premier on July 24 to 883,000 viewers, up a whopping 164% from its second season debut. This is the highest-viewed comedy episode the channel has ever seen. Produced by Lebron James, the show follows the family of a pro basketball player living in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, A&E’s psychotic drama Bates Motel announced Rihanna has been cast as an iconic role at its Comic-Con panel. The pop star will check in as Marion Crane, the character famously played by Jennifer Leigh in the 1960 classic movie Psycho, which the show is based on. It was also announced that the upcoming fifth season of the show would be its last.