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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Riverdale Spinoff Receives 2-Season Order at Netflix *Updated*

Update: Why Sabrina Moved to Netflix

The Sabrina spinoff originally was developed at The CW, a co-venture between Warner Bros. and CBS, but the network is said to have been higher on another witchy drama in the pipeline: Charmed. The latter, a reboot from Jane the Virgin's Jennie Snyder Urman, is being redeveloped after missing a pilot pickup this past season. (Charmed will remain 100 percent owned by CBS Studios if it ultimately moves to series.)

The move to Netflix is widely considered a win within the halls of Warner Bros., as the platform switch — which was discussed first with The CW's board along with execs from both of its parent studios — allows Warners to retain 100 percent ownership of the series from WB-based producer Greg Berlanti. Had the Sabrina project remained at The CW, Warner Bros. would have had to share ownership — and, more importantly, profits — with corporate cousin CBS, as part of The CW's business model. (Riverdale is a co-production between the two.)

Note: The project is currently untitled but is based on the Archie Comics graphic novel The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina.

Word is, likely based on the success of Riverdale on Netflix, the streaming platform gave producing studio Warner Bros. TV a two-season pickup offer it could not refuse. The CW, which also has another female witch drama in the works, a Charmed reboot with Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman, had only committed to development. Additionally, by going with Netflix, WBTV is retaining full ownership of the Sabrina series. (Riverdale is a co-production with CBS TV Studios per the CW business model.)

Still, the relocation of the potential companion series will not allow the CW to build an Archie universe the way it has with the DC series where characters frequently cross over. (The network has another offshoot in the works, the Supernatural spinoff Wayward Sisters, which will be introduced as a planted spinoff episode of the mothership series later this season.)

The streaming giant has handed out a sizable two-season, 20-episode straight-to-series order for an untitled Sabrina drama based on the Archie Comics graphic novel The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, picking up the intended Riverdale companion series from The CW.

Sabrina was put in development at younger-skewing broadcaster The CW in September. A casting search to play the reimagined teenage witch began almost immediately. Sources note that The CW and producers Warner Bros. Television had a list of actresses they eyed for the role. That is being revisited given the large commitment and move to Netflix.

Sabrina reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age tale that traffics in horror, the occult and witchcraft. It's described as in the vein of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist and finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.

Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also serves as chief creative officer of Archie Comics, penned the script. Sabrina was originally eyed as a potential companion series for Riverdale to air in the 2018-19 TV broadcast season. Aguirre-Sacasa executive produces alongside Riverdale collaborators Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger, will direct. The drama hails from Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions.

Sources say the Sabrina order is for two, 10-episode seasons that would shoot back-to-back with the first batch filming from February to June and second from June to October. The writers' room opens Monday. A premiere date has not been determined and it's unclear how the 20 episodes will be divided in terms of rollout.

That Netflix would invest so heavily in Sabrina should come as little surprise. The streaming giant has SVOD rights Riverdale, the noir teen drama about Archie (KJ Apa), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes), and began streaming all 13 episodes of the first season after their run on The CW. Riverdale — which was originally developed for Fox before moving to The CW — became a summer breakout for Netflix, which in turn helped to boost the sophomore season of the show in the fall. Riverdale's Oct. 11 season two debut grew a whopping 60 percent from its midseason series debut nine months prior, becoming the first evidence of the impact SVOD deals have on linear viewership.

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