Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The creators of polygamist series Big Love are developing another unconventional family drama for HBO. Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer are behind China Doll, a show in the works at the pay cable network about a mixed-race family and their humanoid robot. The project combines Scheffer’s passion for technology and Olsen’s interest in Chinese history and politics. “It is about China, Chinese Americans, robots, the effect of technology on our lives and the China moment in American consciousness,” said Olsen, referring to China’s current economic ascendance that is changing the dynamic in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. China Doll centers on a successful California construction subcontractor, his Asian American wife who is a university professor, and a robot as they straddle both sides of the Pacific with extended families on two continents. Despite the presence of a robot, “this is not a sci-fi show,” Scheffer said. “It is ambitious but is set in the present day.” China Doll stems from CAA-repped Olsen and Scheffer’s overall deal at HBO for their Anima Sola Prods, which has been ramping up development in both TV and film. Last year, the company brought in Lisa Bellomo as a development executive.

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