Looking to complement its current reality-only fare, E! is making a major push into scripted programming with nine series in development, including projects from John Wells, Kevin Spacey and Phillip Noyce.
Announcement was made Monday morning at the cabler’s upfront in Gotham. Net expects the first of the series to be on the air in 2013.
E! has long had success with reality skeins and sequels that center on the Kardashian family, as well as other B-level stars, but the net has decided to shake up its strategy ever since NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment chairwoman Bonnie Hammer became boss following the merger with E!’s previous owner, Comcast.
Three of the shows are from Warner Horizon and three others hail from Fox Television Studios. Only two are from Universal Cable Productions, even though E! is part of the NBCUniversal family. CBS Prods. is the home to the other project.
Wells’ production shingle and Warner Horizon are behind “Anne of Hollywood,” based on the bestselling novel by Carol Wolper. Story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII is reset in present-day Hollywood.
Also from Warner Horizon is “Dorothy,” which is inspired by the classic “The Wizard of Oz” tale. In this version, written by scribe Natalie Krinsky, a girl from Kansas City falls for a man and moves with him to the Emerald City to work at the Emerald Hotel.
In “Juror #9,” a media frenzy ensues after a man kills a woman who has been blackmailing him over a shady business deal. The Warner Horizon project comes from writer Brian Ross and exec producer Danny Canon.
Spacey and Michael De Luca are behind “Upstarts,” about the 1990s digital gold rush in the Silicon Valley. Story will be written by Joey Falco and is from Universal Cable Prods.
Also from UCP is “King David,” from writer David Gerken. Story is about a modern Mr. Smith, a billionaire who arrives in Washington and hooks up with a handful of lobbyists.
The first of three projects from Fox Television Studios is “Fascination Street,” about a pair of brothers who try to discover what happened to their band’s lead singer. Noyce exec produces with Josh Reims and writer Steven Kijak.
Other fare from FTS are “The 400,” about the rise of the Vanderbilt dynasty, from writer Emily Whitesell and exec producer Anne Thomopoulos; and an untitled project about Hollywood assistants from writers Meredith Lavender and Marcie Ulin, and exec producer Gary A. Randall.
Finally, cop procedural “Amy Devlin Mysteries” is from writer Daniel Barnz. CBS Prods. is producing.
E! programming president Lisa Berger said, “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! already diverse mix of reality, topical, news and comedy franchises.”