What goes ‘Around’ again is Family

Cabler finishes prod'n on Arquette pilot 'Blue'

ABC Family has greenlit a pair of pilot presentations, including a series adaptation of its original movie “This Time Around” from scribe Chad Hodge (“Tru Calling”).

Hodge also wrote the cabler’s upcoming romantic comedy “I Want to Marry Ryan Banks,” starring Jason Priestley and Emma Caufield (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), about an actor who stages a reality TV show that will choose him a wife.

“This Time Around,” a spinoff of the channel’s June telepic starring Brian Austin Green and Sara Rue, revolves around a group of longtime friends battling their high school demons. “Time” is being exec produced by Joel S. Rice (“Picking Up and Dropping Off”).

“Like many of us, I was a traumatized adolescent for many years, and it was terrifically therapeutic to write about getting revenge on all those pretty, popular people,” Hodge said. “The series picks up six months after the movie ends, when the friends slowly realize that all of their hang-ups and insecurities stem from trauma they experienced as teenagers.”

Cabler has also finished production on the pilot presentation for its Rosanna Arquette starrer, “Tangled Up in Blue,” a semiautobiographical laffer about an unconventional mom balancing motherhood and her bohemian lifestyle and rock ‘n’ roll circle of friends (Daily Variety, July 15). Dick Clark and Robert Downey Jr. make cameos in the pilot presentation.

“Time” is the first project to come out of ABC Family’s strategy in which the channel’s original movies double as backdoor pilots.

“It’s a great concept and it’s made the most sense so far to give it a series treatment,” net programming VP Robin Schwartz said. “The theme — that you never get out of high school, that you’re still experiencing things that metaphorically happened to you in high school no matter where you are in life — I think resonates with everyone.

“Chad had so much to say about where the characters were going past the movie’s finale and how this could be turned into a series, it just all came together so well,” Schwartz added.

Schwartz said the cabler would also likely cut a presentation tape for the Britney Spears-exec produced telepic “A Mother’s Gift,” which goes into production in Toronto this week. Lindsey Haun (“The Color of Friendship”) and Virginia Madsen (“Fire With Fire”) have been cast in “Gift.”

Last year, ABC Family bought six half-hour sitcom scripts with the resolve to have at least one go to series in 2004. Should “Time” or “Tangled” get picked up, they’d likely air in summer at the earliest.

WMA-repped Hodge is also developing a feature with Wonderland Pictures, the production shingle of director McG (“The OC”).

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