Melissa Benoist Cast as Supergirl; CBS’ Nina Tassler Says Costume is Awesome

The big news we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Hollywood Reporter and E! Online broke the news that Melissa Benoist has been cast in the title role of Kara Zor-El/Danvers on the upcoming Supergirl series. A relative newcomer, the 26-year-old recently starred on seasons 4 and 5 of Glee.

Don’t get used to her current look though! The actress has already gone blonde for the part.

CBS entertainment chairwoman Nina Tassler spoke at length about the series at the recent Television Critics Association press tour, prior to casting Benoist. Tassler described the show’s pitch as “a wonderful amalgamation of the mythology of the character with a coming of age tale” and called the show a “great adventure” series. (IGN)

More specifically, the show will be a crime procedural with serialized elements:

“There will be [crime] cases, but what [executive producers] Ali Adler and Greg Berlanti pitched was a real series arc for her,” she said. “The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week. She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy.”

Tassler described the CBS version of the DC Comics icon as “a very strong, independent young woman. She’s coming into her own. She’s dealing with family issues. She’s dealing with work issues. It’s a female empowerment story. If you look at the strong female characters we have on the air, it really is resonant of that…We’re big feminists. 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.”

CBS has been searching for the perfect actress for several weeks and sources say the network is leaning toward a lesser-known performer for the role. Tassler emphasized the actress has to carry the series. “She’s got to be an every woman,” she said. “She’s got to be specific. She’s got to be a terrific actor. I think back to having had the good fortune of being at Warner Bros. when we were doing Lois & Clark, the chemistry between Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was really wonderful. So I think in this case, it’s looking for someone who embodies both the freshness and the exuberance of being a young woman in today’s challenging climate and being someone who can carry this kind of series on her shoulders. It’s a big, big show.”

Though there’s no actress announced yet, CBS has a costume design ready to go — one that Tassler was most definitely excited about. “We have seen the costume,” she said. “Awesome costume.” Tassler added that the costume was being made by Oscar winner Colleen Atwood, who also did the costumes for Arrow and The Flash.

Entertainment Weekly

(Emphasis mine.)

It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a mainstream TV executive using the word feminist with ease these days. I’m delighted to hear that Nina Tassler worked on Lois & Clark back in the day and had such warm things to say about it. Lois & Clark was a hugely influential show with a female creator and showrunner (until ABC fired her and the entire crew after the first season) which produced one of the better takes on the characters. When asked what makes Supergirl a CBS show, Tassler responded, “As you can tell from the strength of the female characters we have on television, it’s a real passion of ours.” Tassler also “loves the genre” (HitFix).

So…how long until we see Melissa in that awesome Supergirl costume? Show us already!