Based on Robert Lacey’s 2015 biography of Ford co-founder Eileen Ford, the pilot is a fictionalized family soap set in the late ’70s, centered on the tempestuous matriarch and uncompromising businesswoman at the helm of an internationally renowned modeling agency named Bertie, who will be played by MacDowell.
Lacey’s book “Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty” revolves around Ford as she launched the 20th century’s largest and most successful modeling agency, which rose to the top of the fashion and beauty industries and represented supermodels including Lauren Hutton, Rene Russo, Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell.
“Model Woman” hails from TriStar Television and ABC Studios. Helen Childress (“Reality Bites”) penned the pilot and will exec produce with Rosalie Swedlin and Scarlett Lacey, the author’s daughter, who is also a writer on E! drama “The Royals.”
The story, which tells a tale of determined female entrepreneur and the empire she built, is a departure in genre for ABC, but would add to the network’s long list of female-led dramas such as “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Quantico” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”
MacDowell is repped by Gersh and manager Risa Shapiro at RMS Productions.