When she took over E! Entertainment after the NBC Universal-Comcast merger, NBCUniversal’s cable maven Bonnie Hammer made introducing scripted programming to the the channel — known for its celebrity news and reality programs — a priority. A year later, at its upfront presentation tomorrow E! will unveil its first slate of scripted projects in active development. The slate features hourlong projects from John Wells, Kevin Spacey, Michael De Luca, Phillip Noyce, Emily Whitesell and Josh Reims. Like the rest of E!’s lineup, its scripted shows take on pop culture. That includes Dorothy, a contemporary tale inspired by The Wizard Of Oz, the John Wells-produced Anne Of Hollywood, the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII reset in present-day Hollywood (the project was originally set up at ABC earlier this season), and The 400, about the rise of the Vanderbilt dynasty. Rounding out the slate are a legal thriller (Juror #9), a detective procedural (Amy Devlin Mysteries), a show about a group of executive assistants and the more eclectic Fascination Street, set in two different time periods and centering on brothers investigating the disappearance of their band’s lead singer, King David, a modern-day Mr. Smith, and the Spacey/De Luca-produced Upstarts, about Silicon Valley’s digital gold rush of the late 1990s. “Our strategy is centered on telling compelling stories that reflect pop culture relevancy in unique and irreverent ways, and these scripted series will complement E!’s already diverse mix of reality, topical, news and comedy franchises,” said E!’s president of entertainment programming Lisa Berger. “The response from the creative community has been incredibly positive and we are excited to be in business with such high-caliber writers, producers and directors.” Berger shepherds E!’s scripted development with SVP scripted programming Kevin Plunkett, the network’s first ever scripted executive who was hired in October. E!’s first scripted series will make its debut in 2013. Here are details about E!’s scripted projects in development:
AMY DEVLIN MYSTERIES – A modern take on procedural storytelling, Amy Devlin is a late 20something, culturally-obsessed detective who brings her own style and POV to police work. Based on the graphic novel of the same name. From writer Daniel Barnz, who wrote and directed Won’t Back Down, starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Holly Hunter which hits theaters in September. Executive Producers are Daniel Barnz, Eric Gitter from Oni Press and Andy Bourne from CBS TV Studios.
ANNE OF HOLLYWOOD –Based on the bestselling novel by Carol Wolper, the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII is reset in present-day Hollywood … “the flashiest, most treacherous court of all.” The elements of Anne’s true story — love, passion, intrigue, betrayal, infidelity and conspiracy — remain fully intact, and become truly relatable to today’s audience. From John Wells Prods. and Warner Horizon Television.
DOROTHY – Inspired by the books “Dorothy” and “The Wizard of Oz,” a girl from Kansas City falls for a man and moves with him to the Emerald City to work at his Emerald Hotel. From writer Natalie Krinsky (Gossip Girl) and Warner Horizon Television.
FASCINATION STREET – A then-and-now look at the tumultuous relationship between two brothers as they work to make their band a success in the past and struggle to find who is behind the disappearance of the lead singer in the present. From executive producers Phillip Noyce (Salt), Josh Reims (Brothers & Sisters), Ross Fineman (Lights Out), and writer Steven Kijak (Stones In Exile). From Fox TV Studios.
THE 400 – The rise of the Vanderbilt dynasty is chronicled in this sprawling, stylized and fast-paced drama set in NY society of the 1890s, where “Society” was defined by the number of people who could fit into Mrs. Astor’s ballroom. From prolific writer Emily Whitesell (Brothers & Sisters) and Executive Producer Anne Thomopoulos (The Borgias). From Fox Television Studios.
JUROR #9 – Alex Dunbar is a good man who makes one critically bad decision –he accidentally kills a woman who has been blackmailing him for a somewhat shady business deal. He frames a man who turns out to become the scion of a business empire. The ensuing media frenzy engulfs the police investigator, the DA and even Alex’s wife as the trial becomes the national obsession. As the story unfolds, we learn that the man framed is far from innocent, the blackmailer was not who she seemed, and the puppet master for this media circus seems to be juror #9…aka Alex Dunbar. From writer Brian Ross (Crossing Jordan) and Executive Producer/Director Danny Cannon (CSI). From Warner Horizon Television.
KING DAVID – From writer (and former D.C. lobbyist who has worked for Rep. NancyPelosi and Sen. George Mitchell) David Gerken (West Wing) comes the tale of a modern-day “Mr. Smith” who is, in this case, a self-made billionaire with a penchant for hooking up with lobbyists in the nation’s capital. Gerken will also serve as co-executive producer. From Universal Cable Productions.
UNTITLED ASSISTANT PROJECT – Ambition bordering on insubordination fuels the lives of a group of executive assistants who are seemingly loyal minions to their high-powered bosses. However, when their superiors are out of the office, the gloves come off as these aspiring titans plot their way up the corporate ladder. From writers Meredith Lavender & Marcie Ulin (Missing) and executive producer Gary A. Randall (The Glades). From Fox Television Studios.
UPSTARTS – Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey and Oscar-nominated producer Michael De Luca (The Social Network) are Executive Producers through their respective production companies, Trigger Street Prods. and Michael De Luca Prods., of this sprawling drama in which three big dreamers seek to grab their share of wealth and glory amidst Silicon Valley’s digital gold rush of the late 1990s. Fueled by power, money, sex and politics, these three will stop at nothing to earn a spot atop the digital food chain. Written by Joey Falco, who will also be a co-executive producer. Dana Brunetti and Ben Younger will also Executive Produce with Younger set to direct, if ordered to pilot. Brian Haas is also set to co-executive produce. From Universal Cable Prods.