Netflix is expanding the Archie universe as it signs on to make two seasons of an untitled project about Sabrina the Teenage Witch based on the Archie Comics graphic novel.
Originally put in development at the CW in September, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was meant as a potential complement to Riverdale which has been a proven hit for the network, reports Deadline. A far cry from the bright and comedic, 1996 take Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, the new project reimagines the story as something much darker and more cinematically in line with films like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. It seemed like a way to build out the Archie universe in the same way the CW has developed multiple DC series where characters frequently cross over into different shows. The same team that brought us Riverdale came together to develop Sabrina including the director, Lee Toland Krieger, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who penned the pilot episode of Riverdale.
In a surprise turn of events the show, which is now untitled, has landed a 20-episode, two-season order at Netflix. Upon closer examination, it is not surprising that Netflix would want to carve out a part of the Archie universe for itself. Riverdale has been a huge success for the CW and secondarily Netflix. The streaming platform drew viewers in as they discovered and binge-watched the first season of the show over the summer which is partly responsible for the second season's strong ratings. Did Netflix make Warner Bros. an offer it couldn't refuse? By going with Netflix, the creators of the currently-untitled Sabrina project will retain full ownership of the series, an enticing offer for any show creator. It does make a crossover slightly less likely now that the two parts of the same graphic novel universe are separated on different platforms.
The move to Netflix could also have been influenced by the fact that Sabrina wouldn't be the only witch drama in the works at CW. The network is also developing a Charmed reboot with Jennie Snyder Urman, the creator of Jane the Virgin.
It isn't the first time a series went from a US network to Netflix. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt did the same thing. First offered a midseason run by NBC, the series went with the streaming service when offered a two-season contract.
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