Supernatural is an American drama and horror television series created by Eric Kripke, which debuted on September 13, 2005 on The WB, and is now part of The CW's lineup. Starring Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester and Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, the series follows the brothers as they hunt demons and other figures of the paranormal. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television, in association with Wonderland Sound and Vision. The current executive producers are Eric Kripke, McG, and Robert Singer; former executive producer Kim Manners died of lung cancer during production of the fourth season.
The series, which is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, was in development for nearly ten years, as creator Kripke spent several years unsuccessfully pitching it as a series. The pilot was viewed by an estimated 5.69 million viewers, and the ratings of the first four episodes prompted The WB to pick up the series for a full season of 22 episodes. Originally, Kripke planned the series for three seasons, but later expanded it to five. The fifth season began airing on September 10, 2009, and concluded the series' main storyline; however, The CW officially renewed the show for a sixth season on February 16, 2010. Kripke has confirmed that he will not be returning as showrunner; however, he will still remain as an executive producer. Sera Gamble, replacing Kripke as showrunner, has stated that the sixth season will focus on the brothers' relationship.
Before bringing Supernatural to television, creator Eric Kripke had been developing the series for nearly ten years, having been fascinated with urban legends since he was a child. Although he had envisioned Supernatural as a movie, he spent years unsuccessfully pitching it as a series. The concept went through several phases before becoming the eventual product, shifting from the original idea of an anthology series to one of tabloid reporters driving around the country in a van "fighting the demons in search of the truth". Kripke wanted it to be a road trip series, feeling that it was the "best vehicle to tell these stories because it's pure, stripped down and uniquely American... These stories exist in these small towns all across the country, and it just makes so much sense to drive in and out of these stories." He decided to have the brothers be from Lawrence, Kansas, due to its closeness to Stull Cemetery, a location famous for its urban legends.
When it came time to name the two lead characters, Kripke decided on "Sal" and "Dean" as an homage to Jack Kerouac's road-trip novel On the Road. However, he felt that "Sal" was inappropriate for the main character, and changed the name to "Sam". It was originally intended for the brothers' last name to be "Harrison" as a nod to actor Harrison Ford, as Kripke wanted Dean to have the "devil-may-care swagger of Han Solo". However, there was a Sam Harrison living in Kansas, so the name had to be changed for legal reasons. Combining his interest in the Winchester Mystery House and his desire to give the series the feel of "a modern-day Western", Kripke settled on the surname of "Winchester". However, this also presented a problem. The first name of Sam and Dean's father was originally "Jack", and there was a Jack Winchester residing in Kansas, so Kripke was forced to change the character's name to "John".
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