Joss Whedon to work on new Marvel TV show

…oh, and he’s set to direct the Avengers sequel too

You think there was be any doubt there would be an Avengers sequel?

After amassing more than $1 billion in box office receipts globally and nabbing the biggest opening weekend haul in North American film history, Marvel announced it’s planning a sequel to the film, scheduled to be released in 2015.

Joss Whedon – who wrote and directed the Avengers film, will also write and direct the sequel – and its all part of a multi-year deal Whedon recently signed with Marvel and owner The Walt Disney Company. As part of the deal, Whedon is developing a new series for ABC that would take place in the same universe as the Avengers film, but not necessarily use the movie’s characters.

The development news is a boon for the beleaguered broadcast network television business, which has seen younger viewers flee toward the exits to cable and other alternate video platforms such as Netflix and Hulu in recent years. The last time there were buzzworthy “genre programs” was in the era of Lost and Heroes.

NBC hopes to restart the genre program this fall with J.J. Abrams set-in-Chicago sci-fi drama Revolution.

Before Avengers, Whedon is best known for creating Buffy The Vampire Slayer (both the movie and TV series), not to mention the short-lived (but cult classic) Firefly and Dollhouse. Whedon also was behind the popular Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, which recently scored a deal to air on CW.

Outside of animation, “superhero” TV series have really not been successful in the medium. Tying Heroes for the longest-running series in this arena was The Incredible Hulk, which ran on CBS from 1978-82, though some of the shorter-lived series were just as well known, such as Wonder Woman (1976-79), and ABC’s The Greatest American Hero, which ran from 1981-83. Flops in this genre include The Amazing Spider-Man (CBS, 1977-79) and Once A Hero (ABC, 1987.)