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.”
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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: Read More »