ABC Family has handed out a pilot order to drama Stitchers. Written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (Overruled), Stitchers follows a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their …
Four days after giving a pilot greenlight to drama Alice In Arabia, ABC Family is pulling the plug on the project about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them. “The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project,” the network said in a statement. The project was met with disapproval by Muslim advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which called on ABC Family to meet with Muslim and Arab-American community leaders so they can voice their concerns about potential stereotyping. “We are concerned that, given media references to the main character ‘surviving life behind the veil,’ the pilot and any resulting series may engage in stereotyping that can lead to things like bullying of Muslim students,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said Wednesday. In a letter to ABC Family President Tom Ascheim, CAIR-LA wrote, “As the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, we are concerned about the negative impact this program could have on the lives of ordinary Arab-American and American Muslims.”
Related: 2014 ABC Family Pilots
UPDATED: In one of ABC Family‘s first major greenlight/renewal decisions under new president Tom Ascheim, the network has picked up three drama pilots: Alice In Arabia, about an American teenage girl kidnapped by her extended royal Saudi Arabian family and forced to live with them; Recovery Road, based on Blake Nelson’s novel about a teenage girl dealing with addiction; and Unstrung, about a brother-sister duo of tennis players. Additionally, the network has ordered a fourth season of comedy Baby Daddy and announced today a fourth-season renewal of fellow comedy Melissa & Joey, though that 20-episode pickup was originally unveiled in May.
Related: 2014 ABC Family Pilots
Alice In Arabia comes from a novice TV writer, Brooke Eikmeier, who wrote the script while serving as cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language to the US Army stationed at Fort Carson, CO, where she supported NSA missions in the Middle East. ABC Family also has bought a second script from Eikmeier, who left service in September with a rank E-4 Specialist. It is about female cultural specialists embedded with Special Forces teams to help them navigate cultural issues with the local population. “These three powerful new dramas are a great fit with ABC Family’s brand of original programming,” said Ascheim. Added Kate Juergens, Chief Creative Officer and EVP Original Content at ABC Family. “Innovative and authentic is the promise we make to our audience. These new projects deliver on that promise with emotional and entertaining storylines, intriguing, multi-faceted characters and complex relationships.” Last season ABC Family also ordered three drama pilots, The Fosters, Twisted and Chasing Live, all of which went to series. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for ABC Family’s newly picked up drama pilots:
ABC Family announced the summer premieres of three new original series. Three nights of original programming will include new drama Chasing Life and comedies Young & Hungry, starring Emily Osment, and Mystery Girls, starring and executive produced by Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth. Pretty Little Liars, Switched At Birth and The Fosters also return in June with new episodes.
Chasing Life premieres Tuesday, June 10 at 9 PM ET/PT. The new one-hour drama follows April (Italia Ricci), an aspiring journalist who tries to balance her career with her family. Young & Hungry, executive produced by Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), premieres Wednesday, June 25 at 8 PM ET/PT. Two worlds collide when Josh (Jonathan Sadowski), a wealthy young tech entrepreneur, meets Gabi ( Osment), a feisty young food blogger, looking to be his personal chef. Mystery Girls premieres Wednesday, June 25 at 8:30 ET/PT. The comedy follows two former detective TV show starlets brought back together by a real-life mystery.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family star Avan Jogia is keeping busy as the network’s teen mystery-drama Twisted concludes its first season this month. The former Nickelodeon star (Victorious) has joined the cast of Ten Thousand Saints opposite Hailee Steinfeld and Asa Butterfield. American Spendor duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are directing the adaptation of Eleanor Henderson’s 2011 novel in which Jogia will play Teddy, who knocks up Eliza (Steinfeld) and overdoses, sending his best friend Jude (Butterfield) into the straight-edge hardcore punk scene of 1980s New York City. Anne Carey, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler are producing the pic which is now filming in NYC.
Jogia’s also in talks for a role in Painstaking Pictures, Haven Entertainment, Bona Fide, and Anonymous Content’s 1970s-set Shangri-La Suite opposite Emily Browning and Luke Grimes. Pic is directed by first timer Eddie O’Keefe from his script with Chris Hutton and follows two young lovers who meet in a mental hospital. The Bonnie & Clyde-esque pair set out to fulfill what one believes is his destiny – to kill Elvis Presley.
UPDATED: The winter debut of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars is the most-tweeted season premiere in TV history. Tuesday’s debut generated more than 1.3 million tweets by nearly 700,000 contributors, peaking at a rate of 30,000 tweets per minute. The series now accounts for the Top 5 most-tweeted TV series telecasts on record, with eight episodes amassing more than 1 million tweets
Pretty Little Liars ranked as Tuesday’s No. 1 telecast among women 18-34 (900,000), viewers 12-34 (2.1 million) and 12-34 females (1.8 million). It also was the No. 1 cable telecast in primetime in the 18-34 demo. An average of 3.2 million total viewers tuned in to join the search for the person who wanted to kill clique boss Alison, making it the No. 2 original cable telecast in overall audience (3.2 million) — just 100,000 viewers behind BET’s unveiling of Being Mary Jane (3.3 million).
Back in August, Pretty Little Liars clocked its biggest summer-finale crowd in viewers 12-34, 18-34, and 18-49, as well as total viewers (3.3 million). In the finale episode, the Liars got a riddle from “A” that sends them to Ravenswood, where one of them disappeared during a magic show, and a shocking discovery proved everything they thought they knew about “A” and the “A-Team” might be wrong and that the Liars may have just started World War A. You had to be there.
This marks the reunion and return to primetime for former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Tori Spelling & Jennie Garth and the first pickup decision for new ABC Family president Tom Ascheim. The network has given series orders to two of its three comedy pilots: Mystery Girls, starring and executive produced by Spelling and Garth, and Young & Hungry, starring Emily Osment and executive produced by Ashley Tisdale. Production on both comedies will begin early this year for a premiere later in 2014. “It’s great to start the new year and my tenure at ABC Family with the pickup of these two funny original series,” Ascheim said. ABC Family’s third comedy pilot, Work Mom, remains in contention. Mystery Girls and Young & Hungry join ABC Family’s established comedy series Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy. “Viewers are excited to see Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth back on television together again, and will fall in love with Young & Hungry star Emily Osment in these comedies that bring us fun, new characters with which to laugh out loud,” said ABC Family’s Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens. This is a big year for ABC Family comedy pilots as last cycle none of the network’s half-hour hopefuls went to series.
Here are descriptions of ABC Family’s newly picked up comedy series:
ABC Family‘s new president is Tom Ascheim. Ascheim, who has served as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Television and CEO of Newsweek, will start immediately. He succeeds Michael Riley, who announced his departure in September to relocate to the UK. The hire of Ascheim comes after an exhaustive search led by Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, that included vetting a number of internal Disney candidates (Riley also came from within the company) as well as outside ones. Those considered included Riley’s No. 2, EVP Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens, though, like she did when Riley’s predecessor Paul Lee left, she is expected to remain focused on the network’s programming as Sweeney reportedly searched for an executive with a strong business background. Ascheim certainly is a surprising choice. He wasn’t on people’s radar and is better known for his rocky tenure as Newsweek CEO than his TV experience. But he was on Sweeney’s radar from working together at Nickelodeon, leading to his dark-horse hire in the top ABC Family position over established TV executives who met for the job. “I knew Tom during my time at Nickelodeon, and always thought he was an incredibly smart, strategic executive,” said Sweeney, to whom Aschem will report. “Since then, he has only reinforced my opinion of his abilities. Whether in print, television, or the financial sector, Tom has gone from success to success.”
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family‘s upcoming drama series Chasing Life has not been assigned a premiere date yet, but it just received a back order for seven episodes. The cast was given the good news today, just in time for Thanksgiving. The back order brings the first season of Chasing Life to 20 episodes, which is ABC Family’s standard for a full season. Chasing Life, from Kapital Entertainment, Lionsgate, Televisa and BV Family Prods, hails from the same pilot batch as ABC Family dramas The Fosters and Twisted. The other two had initial orders for 10 episodes and received back 10 orders after strong early ratings performance last summer. For Chasing Life, whose original order was for 13 episodes, the back order comes ahead of its premiere, slated for next year, representing a strong vote of confidence by the network.