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. READ MORE »
Miss some of Deadline’s Top TV stories this week? With the fall season about to start and the Emmys tomorrow, here’s your chance to catch up:
2014-14 Broadcast Season Preview: Challenges The Networks Face
By Nellie Andreeva – The first new fall series, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, marks the unofficial start of the 2013-14 broadcast season.
Emmys To Kick Off With Oscars-Style Opening Film, Feature ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Video
By Nellie Andreeva - EXCLUSIVE: Feeling it was impossible to follow the jaw-dropping opening musical number Neil Patrick Harris did in June as host of the Tony Awards, CBS — which carries both the Tonys and the Emmys this year — and producers of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards decided to go in a different direction.
UPDATE 1 PM: The search for Michael Riley‘s replacement is still in the nascent stages, but his No. 2, EVP Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens, is being talked about as a logical choice. The main question is whether, following her recent promotion to a Chief Creative Officer, Juergens would want the top job. The situation is reminiscent of that at sibling Disney Channel, where the top creative executive, Gary Marsh, did not go for the president job when Rich Ross left to run Disney Studios. After the job became vacant again two years later when Carolina Lightcap left, Marsh took over. Juergens similarly had been ABC Family’s top development executive but did not make a play for the president position when Paul Lee left in 2010. Will she do it now?
PREVIOUS 12:05 PM: Michael Riley is leaving ABC Family after a three-year stint as president. The move comes on the heels of a strong summer for the cable network, which launched two breakout new series, The Fosters and Twisted, both of which have received back orders. Anne Sweeney, President, Disney/ABC Television Group, has asked Riley to stay on during the search for his replacement. Riley, who for the past few months has been commuting between Los Angeles and London, where his partner had relocated, is expected to look for opportunities in the international marketplace where he worked before joining Disney in 2008. (His experience in the arena includes stints as VP and general manager, Turner Broadcasting System France, and SVP and GM, Turner Broadcasting, Europe, Middle East and Africa).
EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family has closed a deal for a high-profile horror spec script by writer Jeff Dixon, which has Jamie Lee Curtis attached to star and Steve Miner to direct and executive produce if the project goes to pilot. That would mark a reunion and return to the horror genre for the Halloween H2O star Curtis and its director Miner. While there is no green light yet for the project, I hear it is being put on a fast track. Titled The Final Girls, the drama revolves around a group of girls who have, in essence, survived their own personal horror stories and are brought together by a mysterious older woman (Curtis) to channel the stress and scars of their experience for some greater good. Horror launched Curtis’ feature career with the Halloween movies, starting with the original 1978 franchise-starter Halloween. Miner also helmed the second and third installment of another popular horror movie franchise, Friday The 13.
ABC Family has greenlighted three new comedy pilots: Mystery Girls starring Tori Spelling, Work Mom and Young & Hungry, exec produced by Ashley Tisdale. The network has been looking to expand its current comedy portfolio, which includes Baby Daddy, renewed for a third season, and Melissa And Joey, picked up for a fourth.
Mystery Girls follows a former starlet (Tori Spelling) who is roped into solving crimes with her former mystery TV show costar when a witness to a crime will only speak to the infamous Mystery Girls. Beverly Hills, 90210 alumna-turned-reality star Spelling and Maggie Malina (Single Ladies) serve as executive producers. The pilot was written by Shepard Boucher based on a story by him and Spelling, who previously toplined another comedy series co-created by her, So NoTORIous on VH1.
ABC Family has ordered a third season of Switched At Birth and has given back-order pickups to freshmen The Fosters, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, and Twisted. Charles Pratt Jr. has come in as new showrunner on Twisted, which also is expected to change its writing staff. The orders are said to be in line with ABC’s traditional full-season pickups (20 episodes) and back orders (10 episodes). All three shows will return with new episodes in January 2014. “ABC Family has always been a home for groundbreaking storytelling with iconic characters and families and we’re thrilled to have The Fosters and Twisted join our line-up as breakout summer hits,” said ABC Family president Michael Riley. The drama renewals join ABC Family’s comedy pickups of a fourth season of Melissa and Joey and third season of Baby Daddy. They also come on the heels of ABC Family officially cancelling Bunheads and The Lying Game over the past few weeks.