Lifetime has ordered drama pilots “The Virgin of Akron, Ohio,” from Cary Brokaw (“Angels in America”), and “The Madness of Ava,” from Howard Gordon and Joel Surnow (“24”).
Meanwhile, the cabler has quietly moved frosh drama “Monarch Cove” out of primetime to Fridays at 11 and reduced its order for 20 episodes to just 14.
“Virgin” revolves around a young woman who leaves Manhattan to live with her dysfunctional family after a stint in rehab. Jordan Budde wrote the script and will executive produce with Brokaw and Fox TV Studios.
“Madness” is based on the true story of a brilliant neurologist who learns she is bipolar and the impact the diagnosis has on her feckless sister. Rob LaZebnik (“The Simpsons”) is writing the script, with Fox 21 attached to produce. Gordon, Surnow and Robert Cochran will exec produce.
Lifetime picked up the Mark Gordon-produced ensemble drama “Army Wives” last week (Daily Variety, Dec. 1) and has three other drama pilots in various stages of production.
They are “State of Mind,” with toplining Lili Taylor as a therapist who has bigger problems than her patients; “Side Order of Life,” starring Marisa Coughlan as a woman who re-examines her life and looming nuptials after a close friend is diagnosed with cancer; and “Conspiracy,” a suspense thriller set at a Washington, D.C., law firm, with Lisa Sheridan set to star.
Sudser “Monarch Cove” was shifted from Saturdays at 10 after ratings for the show dropped from a premiere aud of 1.4 million to 1.1 million over the first six episodes. On Fridays, however, skein is averaging a much-lower 505,000 viewers — off 38% from the time-period average a year ago. Scripted novela is produced by FremantleMedia North America.