The sequel to the cult favorite film was picked up to pilot in May at NBC, being put into contention for the current 2016-2017 season, though the network opted not to order the show at the time of upfronts when the bulk of broadcast series pickups came through. However, NBC kept the project alive and on deck for consideration, extending the pilot options for the entire cast this summer.
Sources say the decision not to move forward came down to not finding the right fit on NBC’s schedule. Insiders explain that the network liked the project, but has too many midseason shows still to come on their slate, including “Emerald City,” “The New Celebrity Apprentice” and a slew of comedies, such as DC Comics’ “Powerless.” With jam-packed offerings coming up and a current stable schedule, NBC did not want to keep “Cruel Intentions” in a holding pattern.
Since the pilot was picked up, the lengthy back-and-forth negotiations over “Cruel” have included discussions over stacking rights and ownership, as the show hails from an outside studio, Sony Pictures Television. Over the course of the negotiations, sources said NBC was also concerned the younger-skewing soapy drama would not gel well with their other series, many of which are high-action dramas.
While the project was in flux, NBC was considering many different scenarios to move the show forward, including airing the series in summer 2017. Though nothing has been scheduled at this point, NBC has picked up an overwhelming amount of unscripted series — such as Tyra Banks’ “Funded” and Lebron James’ “The Wall” — which seem to be a safe bet for the upcoming summer season, as NBC thrived this past summer with an alternative slate, coming out on top among all the broadcast nets.
Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in the pilot, reprising her role as Kathryn Mertuil. The project hailed from original “Cruel Intentions” director Roger Kumble, along with Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross, who created last summer’s “Cruel Intentions” musical in L.A.
Though “Cruel Intentions” is dead at NBC, insiders tell Variety that Sony is currently shopping around the show, and multiple networks have inquired about the series.
In an interview with Variety this year, Kumble said that Sony was absolutely behind the show. “Because of the IP and because of the love for the pilot, they’re optimistic about their chances,” he said.