TCA Winter ’15 (UPDATE): ‘Supergirl’ costume, format, star in place at CBS

Nina Tassler at TCA. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS

Nina Tassler at TCA. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS


Looks like CBS does have a kryptonite and it involves a certain super girl. As network head Nina Tassler revealed at the 2015 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Monday, Supergirl the series is a priority for going forward, with costume, plot and casting details being actively discussed.

“As you can tell from the strength of the female characters we have on television, it’s a real passion of ours,” she explained to critics, including Cinefilles, live from the ballroom at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. “We fell in love with the pitch. She’s a great character.”

Tassler wouldn’t elaborate too much on the Supergirl pitch, but responded to a journalist’s post-session scrum question about it possibly taking a procedural format and thus, following in the footsteps of many other CBS shows, with some helpful hints.

“They’ll be cases, but what Ali Adler pitched and Greg Berlanti pitched was a real arc for her. The beauty of it is now with shows like, for us, Good Wife and obviously with Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. I mean, she’s a crime-solver, so you’re going to have … she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to have to get a bad guy.”

She continued, “What we’ve been talking to the creators about is what is it about a female crime-solver, a female superhero, that is supremely unique to this show. We’re big feminists, so it’s her intellect. It’s her skill. It’s her smarts. It’s all of those elements. It’s not just her strength–which she does have–but it’s also factoring in all these things we want to reflect in having a strong female character.”

It’s worth noting that CBS has been moving towards more female-focused dramas than ever, what with the recently renewed Secretary starring Tea Leoni and upcoming CSI spinoff (Cyber) with recent Golden Globe winner Patricia Arquette proving Tassler clearly knows that gentlemen and ladies prefer their blondes strong. When Cinefilles spoke with Tassler briefly, she didn’t have any Supergirl casting details to share yet, but she seemed to have the right ideas in terms of choosing the woman to take on the iconic role.

“We’re looking for qualities. We’re looking for a sense of … charisma,” she explained. “It’s consistent with all of the casting choices you make for your strong female lead shows. She’s gotta be every woman and she’s gotta be specific and she’s gotta be a terrific actor.”

“I think back to having had the good fortune at being at Warner Brothers when we were doing Lois and Clark and the chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was really wonderful. I think in this case it’s looking for someone who embodies the freshness and exuberance of being a young woman in today’s challenging climate and being someone who can carry this kind of series on her shoulders.”

While there might not be a specific actress set to put on Supergirl’s costume just yet, the outfit is apparently already in place and completely fantastic. “We have seen the costume and it is … [pauses and puts on fangirlish face] Colleen Atwood is creating [it],” Tassler revealed in the scrum, before adding, “I do have the model in my office.”

UPDATE: On Thursday, Jan. 22, Melissa Benoist of Glee and Whiplash was officially cast as Supergirl and will play the part in the pilot, now in pre-production. There are no shots of her in said costume yet, but here’s a look of her channeling her outer heroine in an episode of Glee, as well as her excited tweets about the announcement.

P.S. – Do you think that Benoist is exactly that “every woman” that Tassler described? Let us know below!

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Emily is covering the 2015 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour live from the Huntington Langham Hotel from January 9 – 18. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne


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