ABC fall development: Out to please soap fans
Like Revenge on ABC? Well you may get a lot more of it.
The lion’s share of the net’s drama pilots in development for fall offer sudsy tales in the vein of the Hamptons-based drama that’s currently tearing up the screen on Wednesdays. (To wit: The drama, which is averaging 8.7 million viewers, leads its hour against old dramas on CBS and NBC among adults 18-34 and key female demos. It’s also the net’s most-watched series in the hour in more than four years, since Lost in 2006-07).
Female-skewing serials fit in best for the home of Grey’s Anatomy and the outgoing Desperate Housewives, so ABC appears to be staying in its wheelhouse with adaptations of the tomes Scruples and 666 Park Avenue and another (with any luck, sexy) update of Beauty and the Beast.
Since no network dares to go into a new season without a legal angle or two, law-dog guru Shawn Ryan (The Shield) has also worked up an action thriller for the Alphabet Network. But even his project promises a serialized (and potentially soapy) take on the formation of a new nuclear nation that threatens our great god-fearing country.
Comedies? Well, the newest crop is a huge (see: smarter) departure from the dreck of 2011-12. Throwaways like Man Up! and Work It have been replaced with British adaptations and the much-needed return of funnywoman Judy Greer. (Remember her in Miss Guided?)
Save for a few more comedies, ABC has just about wrapped up their pilot ordering season. Next step: Make them, screen them, and decide whether they’re good enough to earn a series order for fall. Here’s what they’ve drummed up.
666 Park Ave (David Wilcox): When a young couple accepts an offer to manage one of the most historic apartment buildings in New York City, they unwittingly begin to experience supernatural occurrences, which complicate and endanger the lives of everyone in the building.
Americana (Michael Seitzman): A soap set around a legendary fashion designer and his family and business.
Nashville (Callie Khouri): A family soap set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene that follows one star at her peak and one on the rise. (Contingent on closing the co-production deal between ABC Studios and Lionsgate.)
Gotham (Michael Green): After pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, a female cop discovers a magical world that exists within New York City. A world that goes unseen by normal humans, and takes all of the familiar NYC landmarks and reinvents them in a magical otherworldly manner.
Zero Hour (Paul Scheuring): A bizarre twist of fate pulls a man who’s spent 20 years as the editor of a skeptics magazine into one of the most compelling conspiracies in human history.
Devious Maids (Marc Cherry): Based on the Mexican format, this soap follows four maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.
Penoza (Melissa Rosenberg): Based on the Dutch format, drama centers on the widow of an assassinated criminal who is forced to adopt her husband’s role in a crime syndicate in order to protect her family.
Scruples (Bob Brush, Mel Harris): Based on 1978 novel Scruples that follows the life of Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop, a.k.a. Billy, a previously plump woman who loses weight, becomes fabulously cool, and survives a very rich (and very old) first husband. She ends up opening up a Beverly Hills clothing boutique called Scruples.
Beauty and the Beast (Jonathan Steinberg): A fantastical reimagining of the classic fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world wherein a beautiful and tough princess discovers an unlikely connection with a mysterious beast.
Gilded Lillys (K.J. Steinberg): Set in 1895, this epic love story follows the opening of the first grand luxury hotel in NYC, against a backdrop of vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets, and conflict and comingling of classes.
Last Resort (Shawn Ryan, Karl Gajdusek): An international action-thriller-soap that follows the story of establishing a new society in a world held hostage by the crew of a ballistic missile submarine. Basically a U.S. nuclear sub crew refuses orders to fire their missiles and escape to a NATO outpost and declare themselves the smallest nuclear nation.
How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life (Claudia Lonow): Polly, a recently divorced single mom moves in with her eccentric parents, Elaine and Max, a couple who are full of life but know no boundaries.
Untitled Adam Sztykiel project (Adam Sztykiel): Single-camera comedy that offers a raw, hilarious peek behind the curtain of modern twentysomething relationships.
Only Fools & Horses (Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley): Multi-camera based on the iconic British series, this classic comedy chronicles the misadventures of two streetwise brothers and their aging grandfather as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in their quest to become millionaires.
Counter Culture (Stephnie Weir): Three aging sisters who run their family diner together in West Texas find that sibling dynamics are always getting in the way of getting the job done.
White Van Man (Bobby Bowman). A single-camera comedy based on the British format White Van Man, the show centers on a man who is forced to put his dreams on hold in order to take over the family handyman business from his father.
American Judy (Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont): Judy Greer will costar in this single-camera comedy about a cosmopolitan woman who gets married and becomes a fish out of water in the suburbs. She juggles step-kids, a mother-in-law, and the ex-wife of her husband, who also serves as the town sheriff.
Prairie Dogs (Jackie & Jeff Filgo): Neil, an uncool cubicle worker, at one of the coolest companies in the world, is the victim of identity theft. When he discovers the thief has created a much more fulling kick ass life with his identity than he ever has, he engages the charismatic conman to help him change his life.
Malibu Country (Kevin Abbott). Reba McEntire to star and executive produce in this comedy about a spurned woman whose “good old boy” rock star husband cheats on her and burns through most of their money, so she moves her three kids out to Malibu.
TV Pilots on EW