Archie Comic Publications and Warner Bros. Television have signed an exclusive deal to develop new original programming and content based on Archie’s vast catalog of characters and properties, Archie announced today.
The company described the Warner Bros. Television deal as "the culmination of years of work by Jon Goldwater and the staff and freelancers of Archie Comics to bring the classic comic book characters forward into the present day." They cited successes like The Death of Archie storyline, Afterlife With Archie, and the "New Riverdale" relaunch as the inspiration for content likely to be developed.
“For years, people have been saying ‘Wow, Archie is making moves. They’re fearless. They’re trying new things.’ This is what happened next,” Archie Comics CEO/Publisher Jon Goldwater told The Hollywood Reporter. “We were redefining the brand by being daring and by, at the same time, protecting the integrity of the characters. As long as Archie is Archie and his friends are true to their characters, you can do anything with them. That’s what really opened up people’s eyes to their potential, and it’s a direct path to where we are today, which is having a Riverdale TV series on the CW and a new deal with Warners. The sky’s the limit here.”
Riverdale debuted three weeks ago to widespread critical acclaim but soft ratings. It has, however, held up its ratings each week and even gained new viewers in its third episode, and has surpassed the bar set by the first season of The CW's award-winning series Jane the Virgin. what seemed like a no-brainer for a season two pickup now looks even more likely, as Archie and Warner Bros. Television are more invested in one another's success than they were before.
The company, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016, began redefining its image in 2010 with the introduction of Kevin Keller, the first major gay character to appear in the kid-friendly line of comedy and romance comics. In 2015, the company relaunched Archie with a new #1 from Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, launching a best-selling "New Riverdale" line which publishes new content alongside both new and reprint material featuring the more traditional look and feel of the Archie characters.
In the same announcement where Archie revealed their deal with Warner Bros. Television, the company announced an expanded role for Waid, who will take over Jughead in May as well as serving in a mentoring capacity for young writers.