$#*! your TV guide says.
Networks have recently greenlit a trio of pilots in contention for fall that share an unusual trait — family unfriendly titles.
ABC has ordered Good Christian Bitches with Sex and the City writer Darren Star, about a reformed “mean girl” who returns home to Dallas, only to find that some of her former high school classmates have remained unforgiving.
The network also approved Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, starring Krysten Ritter, a comedy about an innocent Midwestern girl who ends up with a wild roommate from hell in New York City.
Fox, meanwhile, has greenlit Chicks and Dicks starring Zooey Deschanel. It’s described as a comedy about the modem sexual politics between men and women.
Using a profane title is a time-honored Hollywood writer tactic for standing out from the pack when sending a script to studios. This year, however, the strategy may have received a legitimizing boost by CBS putting $#*! My Dad Says on its fall schedule (though not without controversy).
Just because a pilot is picked up with a certain working title doesn’t mean the name won’t change, however. In all three of these cases, a change seems all but certain.
Chicks and Dicks seems a bit crude, even for Fox. Good Christian Bitches is based on the novel of the same name by Kim Gatlin, so there’s some logic to maintaining brand continuity, but would a broadcaster (owned by Disney no less) really opt for a title that combines “Bitches” and “Christian” in the title? Then there’s Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 — a title that will definitely have some fans because it’s witty and clearly sells the premise of the show. (It is a bit long, though).
“That is a big debate,” ABC’s scripted development chief Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs told EW about the network’s “bitch” titles, particularly referring to Don’t Trust the Bitch. “We love that it’s provocative and it’s so indicative of the show. The whole show is sort of audacious and slightly off-color, but it’s really relatable. Still, we don’t want to become the `A-Bitch-Company.’ That’s not our big goal.”
Of course, the whole debate is moot unless at least one of these pilots proceeds to the next step and receives a series order.
“We’ll deal with the title,” said one studio insider , “after we get the pickup.”