New ABC Family prexy Michael Riley has made his first pilot orders, giving a greenlight to the one-hour scripted dramas "Nine Lives," "Switched at Birth" and "Strut." A fourth project, "The Lying Game," is about to be picked up as well.
Pilots go into production this fall. Orders come off a strong summer for ABC Family, which launched the new series "Pretty Little Liars" and "Melissa and Joey, and also brought back network staples “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Make It or Break It.”
“Adding depth to the network’s original programming slate is one of our biggest priorities going into next year," Riley said. "The network’s programming team, led by Kate Juergens, has done a brilliant job developing shows that have come to define ABC Family as a destination for quality original series.”
For her part, Juergens said the new projects "offer a great mix of heartfelt and compelling storytelling that our audience has come to expect from us.”
“Nine Lives,” based on the book "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" (by author Celia Thomson), centers on a 16-year-old who starts developing heightened abilities and discovers she’s being pursued by a mysterious figure. Turns out she's part of an ancient race being hunted by human assassins. Dan Berendsen is exec producer; project comes from "Pretty Little Liars" producer Alloy Entertainment, with Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo as executive producers.
“Switched at Birth” follows two teen girls who discover that they were, as the title says, accidentally switched at birth. Both grow up in very different homes; but when they meet, their families decide to move in together. Lizzy Weiss is exec producer.
Then there's "Strut," which received a cast-contingent order. Project centers on a showgirl who moves to a small Texas town and takes over the high school’s struggling drill team. Lamar Damon is writer; Karey Burke, Charlie Stratton, Anna Mastro and Norman Buckley are EPs.
"The Lying Game," from scribe Sara Shepard, also comes from Alloy Entertainment — and centers on identical twins separated at birth. A pickup is expected shortly on that project.