There is nothing more precious for a show creator in this day and age than the trust and the full creative support of a TV network. At the Awardsline screening for Lifetime‘s Devious Maids Monday night, creator Marc Cherry revealed one kinky scene the network let him get away with.
We know too well the ins and outs of how Gravity and Dallas Buyers Club barely made it to the big screen. These rags-to-riches backstory tales are used by film marketing execs to curry Oscar votes, but the strategy isn’t always such a deliberate part of an Emmy campaign.
Arrested Development’s resurgence on Netflix after Fox canceled it was last year’s underdog story that nabbed the show three Emmy nominations. This year, Marc Cherry’s Devious Maids could use a similar boost. The show was developed by ABC, rejected after a series order and then saved by Lifetime. Next year, NBC’s Emmy-less Parks and Recreation, which will end its series run at the end of next season, will have its own sob story to use against the competition.
Once a broadcast network rejects a TV pilot it has shot, it’s not common that the show will go on to live a second life on another network. Such was the fate of Marc Cherry‘s Devious Maids, the second series he developed with ABC following his Sunday cornerstone Desperate Housewives. It seemed like a surefire programming choice for the alphabet network’s fall 2012 season. But in June 2012, network executives’ minds changed. Here Cherry recounts the resuscitation of Devious Maids on Lifetime, how the show became a flagship for Latino actresses and the longevity of dramedies, such as his previous hit Desperate Housewives, at the Emmys.
DEADLINE: How did Devious Maids come together? What sparked your interest in adapting the Mexican soap opera Ellas son…la Alegria del Hogar?
MARC CHERRY: I got a call from my agent that this consortium of producers known as Oasis Entertainment. They buy different formats from countries around the world. They had this show about maids from Mexico and they brought it to me thinking I could do the American version. I took a look at it. They showed me a five minute sizzle reel to catch me up to speed on the show, and it looked a lot like Desperate Housewives, so I actually passed because I already did this show. A few days went by and I kept thinking about the show and it brought back a lot of memories when I was working in Bel-Air as Dixie Carter’s personal assistant. I would go to her home every day, Monday-Friday, and I was 25, so I had just moved to Hollywood. And it was interesting, because it was the first time in my life, having grown up upper middle class in Orange County, that I was the help, for lack of a better phrase. There were a lot of people working in her home – there were two housekeepers, a cook, a chauffeur, a yoga instructor – actually a comically, crazy household that deserves its own sitcom. It was an entertaining place to be. I love Hal Holbrook and Dixie, they were dear to me. It started a full circle thing in my head, and many years have past, and now I have people who work in my home. I’ve seen these issues from both sides, there’s nothing quite like working in someone’s home because you are exposed to the most intimate parts of their life. It’s not a workplace like an office building, college or police station. It’s something more intimate and delicate. I thought, ‘I have a perspective on this.’
Tricia O’Kelley (The New Adventures of Old Christine) has been cast in a season-long recurring role on Lifetime’s Devious Maids. She’ll play Tanya, a local Beverly Hills resident. O’Kelley, repped by Domain and Art/Work Entertainment, recently recurred on ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. Season 2 of Devious Maids is set to premiere April 20, when star Eva Longoria will direct the season opener.
TCA: ‘Devious Maids’ Returning On April 20; Eva Longoria To Make Directorial Debut In Season 2 Opener
PASADENA, CA (January 9, 2014) – Lifetime’s critically-acclaimed hit series Devious Maids (#DeviousMaids, #DeviousArmy), returns for a second season on Sunday, April 20, at 10PM ET/PT. The series is executive produced by Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, and stars Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes as five maids with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Longoria will direct the series’ eagerly anticipated season two opener, marking her television directorial debut.
Harry Lloyd (Game Of Thrones) has been tapped for a regular role in WGN America’s 13-episode drama series Manhattan. The show, from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV, is set against the backdrop of the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, NM and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to co-exist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives. Lloyd, repped by ICM Partners and Curtis Brown Group in the UK, will play one of the scientists. Filming is slated to begin in March in New Mexico.
Josh Hamilton, who is coming off American Horror Story: Coven, has been cast in another limited series, Fox’s Gracepoint, a remake of the UK’s Broadchurch. The project, from Shine America and Kudos, centers on Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant), the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder of 11-year-old Danny that puts a small town under scrutiny. Hamilton, repped by UTA, will play Joe Miller, Det. Ellie Miller’s (Anna Gunn) husband.
Joanna P. Adler has joined Lifetime’s dramedy Devious Maids, from ABC Studios, as a new series regular. She will play Opal, a new maid who is secretive & conniving, reminiscent of Mrs. Danvers from Hitchcock’s Rebecca. Adler, repped by Liebman Entertainment and Schreck Rose, recently recurred on Orange is the New Black & 30 Rock. She joins fellow new Maids regular Dominic Adams.
EXCLUSIVE: Rosie Perez is set to star opposite Jack Whitehall in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot An American Education, based on the BBC Three series Bad Education. British actor-comedian Whitehall, who created and starred in the original series, is reprising his role as Alfie Wickers, now a British transplant and an unorthodox young teacher in the San Diego public school system. Alfie loves his students but his youthful, often naive enthusiasm and unconventional methods put him at odds with the test-obsessed administrators. Perez plays Rita Gomez, the school’s hard-assed Vice Principal, a terrifying force that grew up in a bad neighborhood who intimidates Alfie by her no-nonsense, bullish, self-righteous, by-the-numbers approach to ruling the school, or how she sees it, her kingdom. Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory wrote the script from a story they co-wrote with Whitehall and Ben Cavey. All four exec produce for ABC Studios.
With growing ratings, Lifetime’s Devious Maids has received a pickup for a 13-episode second season. After an OK but unspectacular premiere, the telenovela adaptation has been steadily improving to become Lifetime’s fastest-growing drama in its history. On August 4, Devious Maids drew series high 2.9 million total viewers, up 45% vs. the show’s June 23 premiere. (The series posted a 2.7 million viewers this past Sunday.) It has made Lifetime the No.1 cable network in the Sunday 10 PM time slot among women. “One of the most daring series on television, Devious Maids has quickly become a hit,” said Lifetime’s EVP and GM Rob Sharenow. Created by Marc Cherry based on the telenovela Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, Devious Maids is executive produced by Cherry, Sabrina Wind, Eva Longoria, Paul McGuigan, Larry Shuman, David Lonner, John Mass, Paul Presburger and Michael Garcia. ABC Studios is producing.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Despite standing as such a large percentage of the overall U.S. population, Latino culture remains a largely invisible piece of the network primetime television landscape. So the cast and producers of the new NBC comedy Welcome to the Family were asked their thoughts on helping to break that mold a bit during a TCA session this morning. The series chronicles how cultures collide when a white family and a Latino family in Los Angeles are bonded together by their children who fall in love, followed quickly by an unplanned pregnancy. Exec producer Mike Sikowitz maintained that he wasn’t necessarily looking to push Latino culture to the forefront in the show, however. “I just felt it was important to do a show that I feel reflects L.A. or really any area in the country today,” Sikowitz said. “I was just trying to bring two families together.”
Co-star Ricardo A. Chavira, an alumnus of Desperate Housewives, pointed out that when Latinos exist on TV, “we exist within the realm of specific stereotypes. You can’t always escape them, either. But that’s not the foundation of what this family [on the show] is. It’s more universal than that. It just adds texture to the story.” A critic followed that up by wondering aloud if Chavira might have been referring to the Lifetime drama Devious Maids (from Marc Cherry of Housewives fame) when talking about Latinos existing in the realm of stereotypes. But he didn’t want to get drawn into a war. “I wasn’t referring to anything at all,” Chavira insisted. “I think there’s some wonderful elements to [Devious Maids]. I’m very proud of the people I used to work with and what they’re doing on that show.” However, he allowed, “Myself personally, I probably have a couple of issues with it, that’s all.”
The initiative makes sense for the upcoming Lifetime drama series, which was created by Desperate Housewives‘ Marc Cherry and counts Eva Longoria among its exec producers. Devious Maids is based on the hit Televisa telenovela Ellas Son La Alegría Del Hogar and centers on five Latina maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills — with murder and intrigue thrown into the mix. The network is making the pilot episode available early on digital platforms beginning Sunday in both English and Spanish. The sneak peak comes ahead of the series’ on-air debut June 23. Following the premiere, Lifetime will make each episode available in both languages the day after its Sunday 10 PM airing. “We are thrilled to work with our distribution partners on making Devious Maids available in both English and Spanish to maximize the show’s crossover appeal among the broadest range of their customers”, said Rob Sharenow, Lifetime’s EVP and General Manager.
EXCLUSIVE: Melinda Page Hamilton and Matt Cedeno have landed recurring roles on Lifetime’s upcoming series Devious Maids. Both are expected to be featured in the tweaked pilot and will be upped to series regulars if the dramedy gets renewed for a second season. Marc Cherry‘s pilot Devious Maids, originally developed for ABC last season, is based on the hit Mexican telenovela Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar.
Marc Cherry‘s pilot Devious Maids is going to series at Lifetime. The cable network has handed a 13-episode order to the ABC Studios-produced project, originally developed for ABC where it received a pilot order this past season but missed the cut to series. Devious Maids is slated to launch on Lifetime in 2013. “This show and Marc Cherry’s unique story telling voice perfectly articulate Lifetime’s strategy of attracting top-tier creatives with their most original and exciting projects,” Lifetime’s president Nancy Dubuc and EVP Rob Sharenow said in a joint statement.
Based on the hit Mexican telenovela Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, Devious Maids follows the lives of five maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. It stars Ana Ortiz, Judy Reyes, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez as well as Susan Lucci, Edy Ganem, Grant Show, Brianna Brown, Rebecca Wisocky, Tom Irwin, Mariana Klaveno, Brett Cullen and Drew Van Acker. I hear the pilot will undergo some tweaking and reshoots in its move to Lifetime. One of the regular roles, played in the pilot by Angelique Cabral, will likely be eliminated. Production on the series will be based in Atlanta, which provides tax intensives vs. Los Angeles where the pilot was shot.
Lifetime began exploring the possibility of a Devious Maids …
Mariana Klaveno has been cast as Lily Munster in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. However, Klaveno’s deal is contingent on her being released from a pilot she had a regular role on: ABC’s Devious Maids. Klaveno is not one of the leads on Devious Maids and has just a few lines in the pilot. But, in light of the project’s possible move to Lifetime, in an act of gamesmanship or a mix of both, Devious Maids producer ABC Studios has so far refused to release the actress. I hear that, in a major departure from precedent, NBC is even willing to let Klaveno recur on Devious Maids in exchange for securing her in first position to Mockingbird Lane, where she would play the female lead.
ABC Studios has been looking to cut costs for Devious Maids‘ potential move to cable (I hear the main actresses have been asked to take a pay cut), but the studio has not agreed to convert Klaveno’s role to a recurring so she can join Mockingbird Lane. After one extension, I hear there is now a ticking clock that expires at the end of business today to get Klaveno released from Devious Maids so she can play Lilly Munster. At this point, with ABC Studios digging in (it has Klaveno in first position until at least June 30, when they can extend her option), it is probably going to take a miracle — or a call from NBC topper Bob Greenblatt to Devious Maids creator Marc Cherry — to get her released. If that doesn’t happen, NBC will likely go back to the drawing board and start casting the Lily Munster role again.
It is the end of the road for Marc Cherry’s veteran ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives, which ended its eight-season run this month, but it ain’t over yet for Cherry’s latest project, the Desperate Housewives-esque Devious Maids. Lifetime is looking at the pilot, which missed the cut at ABC, and has had conversations with its producer, ABC Studios. While Lifetime appears interested, sources stress that the talks are preliminary. The cable network has been looking at a number of busted broadcast pilots and cancelled series, including CBS’ Unforgettable, but Devious Maids seems to be closer than most to the new, younger and sexier direction Lifetime is taking with series like The Client List. Additionally, like USA Network, which owns off-network rights to Modern Family and is exploring picking up Fox’s comedy pilot Rebounding, executive produced by Modern Family co-creator Levitan, as a companion for it, Lifetime is the off-network home of Cherry’s Desperate Housewives.
Based on the Mexican format, Devious Maids follows four maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. The project’s cast also includes Susan Lucci, and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is among its executive producer.
Marc Cherry is inching closer to a quick return to ABC’s primetime. I’ve learned that his ABC/ABC Studios pilot Devious Maids has been given permission to start making senior staffing offers. While that does not guarantee a series pickup, such a move is usually a promising sign about a pilot’s chances. Like Cherry’s departing Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, based on the Mexican format, is a soap with four female leads (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes), maids with ambition and dreams of their own who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Devious Maids is one of several pilots that are already making staffing offers, along with NBC comedies Save Me and The New Normal. NBC’s single-camera comedy Go On is the only pilot so far to secure a series order.