The two series, which belong to the Archie Comics universe, feature prominent boxing plots. Riverdale’s Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) first took to the ring out of necessity while imprisoned at Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center, but the hobby remained a major life goal for him after his prison break, even going on to fight Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) in a bonkers season 3 face-off and turning the El Royale boxing gym into a community center for kids.
Now, new Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene is about to enter the ring with K.O. Kelly (Zane Holtz), an aspiring prizefighter and Katy Keene’s boyfriend. Though Archie’s love for the bruising sport is entirely the creation of the Riverdale writers, K.O. Kelly’s profession is true to the original comics.
“K.O. Kelly in the comic is a boxer and is Katy’s big romantic arc in the comic. It just felt so perfect that Katy Keene, who’s in this world of fashion has this bruiser boyfriend who is also a boxer,” explains Katy Keene co-creator Michael Grassi. “What’s nice about K.O. is that he also has a dream. He wants to be a huge boxer and box at Madison Square Garden one day the same way Josie (Ashleigh Murray) wants to sing at Madison Square Garden one day.”
Riverdale creator and Katy Keene co-creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says the connection was a happy accident and not a result of any latent crushed career aspirations. “It was so funny — we did a big entire season of Archie as a boxer, and it was never imagined that Archie was going to be like Raging Bull, but halfway through the season, we started developing Katy and we were like, ‘Katy’s boyfriend is a boxer,'” he reflects. “I remember one day I was like, ‘I never would have thought that I’d be working on any show in which boxing had a huge part.’ But to be working on it in two shows is slightly mind-blowing.”
Even more concussive? The possibility that K.O. Kelly and Archie’s mutual knockout status could lead to a crossover. Aguirre-Sacasa admits they’ve discussed it, but teases other mash-ups first. “We are talking about that, yes, but before that, we are going to have one more crossover that we can’t announce yet, but [it’s] really fun,” he muses. And that’s not counting this week’s glimpse of Katy Keene on Riverdale.
Though last fall at the Tribeca TV Festival, Grassi did tease, that “[we] will definitely see someone from Riverdale and K.O. face off in the ring.” If not Archie, then who?
Katy Keene airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW. Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.