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‘GCB’ Title Star Of The Show During Panel:TCA

By | Tuesday January 10, 2012 @ 3:45pm PST

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

TCA remained a Bitch-Free Zone during the GCB session today. And it became something of a Christian-Free Zone as well. Following up on entertainment chief Paul Lee’s comment earlier in the day that “bitch” “was really not a word you want to use in the title” — ABC also is promoting the sitcom Don’t Trust The B— In Apartment 23 on its midseason schedule — yet another “bitch” question opened the panel for GCB, which premieres March 4 at 10 PM. The letters in this case stand for Good Christian Belles, but it originally was short for Good Christian Bitches, the title of the book on which the series is based. And as GCB writer/executive producer Robert Harling said, he was never comfortable with the “Belles” part of the title given that his series is set in Texas. “That’s more Georgia or South Carolina, you know, the Deep South,” he said. The show title was changed to GCB after Harling saw the logo everywhere he turned while shooting the show in Dallas. “We all thought it was kind of cool in the era of LOL and FYI … GCB was this term that the women around us all seemed to refer to themselves as. … It just kind of stuck.” Read More »

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Victor Nelli Joins ‘GCB’ As EP/Director, Signs Pilot Directing Deal With ABC Studios

By | Monday October 3, 2011 @ 10:10am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Victor Nelli has joined new ABC dramedy Good Christian Belles as executive producer/director, starting with Episode 6. He directed the reshoots on the pilot, which was helmed by Alan Poul, as well as the key second episode of the series starring Leslie Bibb and Kristin Chenoweth. On the ABC Studios-produced soap, based on Kim Gatlin’s book, Good Christian Bitches, Nelli will serve as an executive producer alongside Robert Harling, who penned the pilot, Darren Star, Aaron Kaplan and showrunners Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts. Additionally, ABC Studios has signed a pilot directing deal with Nelli who is slated to helm a pilot for the studio this or next development season that could be half-hour or one-hour as Nelli has experience in both genres. WME-repped Nelli previously served as a producer/director on ABC/ABC Studio’s dramedy Ugly Betty, rising to executive producer and directing the series finale. On the half-hour side, he directed 6 episodes of ABC Studios’ comedy Scrubs and most recently helmed 3 episodes from the first season of FX’s quirky new comedy series Wilfred.

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TV Writers Continue To Hate Bankers: ABC Buys Drama About Disgraced Financier

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 1:33pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

With the public’s sentiment toward Wall Street not improving much post-Madoff and the massive bailouts, it is not surprising that TV writers don’t seem to have much love for financial executives. This fall, I counted three new series that had a disgraced banker or a financial scheme as a starting-off point in the pilot: In 2 Broke Girls, co-lead Carline (Beth Behrs) is a former super-rich heiress thrown into poverty after the assets of her banker dad were frozen over a massive Ponzi scheme; in ABC’s Good Christian Belles, lead Amanda (Leslie Bibb) was left penniless by her deceased husband, who was indicted in a Ponzi scheme; and in ABC’s Revenge, the lead, Emily (Emily VanCamp), is exacting revenge on the Grayson family that destroyed her father who, in a setup, was made the fall guy in an insider-trading and money-laundering scheme. Now comes Turner Loose, a new drama just Read More »

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Darren Star No Longer On Set Of ABC’s New ‘Good Christian Belles’ (But Remains On The Show)

By | Monday August 22, 2011 @ 6:39pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: There has been some behind-the-scenes drama on ABC’s upcoming dramedy Good Christian Belles. A fallout between writer/executive producer Robert Harling and executive producer/showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg on one hand and executive producer Darren Star on the other has led to a decision by producing studio ABC Studios to no longer have Star talk to Harling, Harberts or Berg, go to the set of the show, or go to his GCB office. He continues to give notes on scripts and cuts but to the studio, not to the series’ writing EPs — at least not for the time being. Star also oversees marketing and publicity for the series.

Star was never expected to be full-time on GCB for the long run because he is under an exclusive deal at HBO, where he has the Goldie Hawn-starring comedy project The Viagra Diaries awaiting a pilot green light. (He will go and run that show if and when that happens.) That’s why ABC Studios hired experienced showrunners Harberts and Berg after the pilot to help feature writer Harling. (For the duo, the assignment was part of their overall deal at the studio.) Still, the events of the past couple of months hastened that process, creating behind-the-scene tension along the way. As one observer put it, on GCB “the comedy is on the show, the drama is behind the scenes.”

I hear at heart of the problem was the fractured long-time friendship between Star and Harling. It was Star who originally optioned Kim Gatlin’s book Good Christian Bitches and brought in Harling to write the TV adaptation. Star also shepherded the pilot from development through postproduction. Some say there were signs of friction between the two as early as the pilot stage, but the cracks became very visible after the ABC upfront presentation and subsequent international screenings where GCB was heavily marketed as a Darren Star series with no mention of Harling, something that I hear upset Harling. Tension started building as Harling, Harberts and Berg convened the show’s writing staff to work on storylines and scripts, with Star chiming in from afar. (Star reportedly didn’t do much to defuse the situation). Read More »

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ABC Unveils 2011-2012 Schedule: New Comedy Block On Tuesday With Tim Allen

Nellie Andreeva

Home Improvement star Tim Allen is returning to ABC’s primetime, and the network will use his star power to launch a new comedy block. As we predicted, the network is opening up a 8-10 PM comedy block on Tuesday, with Allen’s comedy Last Man Standing anchoring it. ABC will be launching roughly half of its 13 new scripted series in the fall, including Charlie’s Angels, which has been given the tough task to open Thursday night. The network proved it was serious about Happy Endings, giving the modestly rated midseason series its prime comedy slot after Modern Family. Also noteworthy: 1960s soap Pan Am landed the post-Desperate Housewives slot, and ABC opted to go scripted in the Sunday 8 PM slot long occupied by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with new fantasy series Once Upon a Time. ABC’s top series, Dancing With the Stars, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are staying put. Held for midseason are high-profile new entries Good Christian Belles and The River as well as returning comedy Cougar Town. All fall series have received traditional 13-episode orders, while the size of the orders for most midseason shows have not been determined. Here is ABC’s release with the fall schedule:

New ABC series for the 2011-12 season are “Apartment 23,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Good Christian Belles,” “Last Man Standing,” “Man Up,” “Missing,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Pan Am,” “Revenge,” “The River,” “Scandal,” “Suburgatory” and “Work It.”

“America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “The Bachelor,” “Body of Proof,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Happy Endings,” “Secret Millionaire,” “Shark Tank” and “20/20” join previously announced returning series “Castle,” “Cougar Town,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and “Private Practice.” “Saturday Night College Football” also returns.

ABC’s fall primetime schedule is as follows; new shows are in bold:


 8:00 p.m.                    “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m.                  “Castle”


 8:00 p.m.                    “Last Man Standing”
 8:30 p.m.                    “Man Up”
9:00 p.m.                    “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m.                  “Body of Proof”


 8:00 p.m.                    “The Middle”
8:30 p.m.                    “Suburgatory”
9:00 p.m.                    “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m.                    “Happy Endings”
10:00 p.m.                  “Revenge”


 8:00 p.m.                    “Charlie’s Angels”
9:00 p.m.                    “Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m.                  “Private Practice”



 8:00 p.m.                    “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
 9:00 p.m.                    “Shark Tank”
 10:00 p.m.                  “20/20”

 8:00 p.m.                    “Saturday Night College Football”


 7:00 p.m.                    “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m.                    “Once Upon a Time”
9:00 p.m.                    “Desperate Housewives”
10:00 p.m.                  “Pan Am”




Read More »

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ABC Plans Mix Of Series-Order Sizes, To Open Second Comedy Block On Tuesday?

By | Monday May 16, 2011 @ 5:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Three days after the euphoria of getting their pilots picked up by ABC, I hear the producers of the newly picked-up series are in panic mode over conflicting information about the sizes of the network’s series orders. Word is, with a whopping 13 new scripted series orders, including the straight-to-series drama Missing, ABC is mulling different tiers of order sizes: the standard 13, as well as 10 and six episodes. I hear none of the producers have been told how many episodes their show is being picked up for, creating a lot of anxiety on the eve of ABC’s upfront presentation tomorrow, when the network will unveil its schedule for next season. Speaking of ABC’s schedule, the network is being very tight-lipped about it. With five new comedy series picked up, it is logical for ABC to try to open a second comedy block outside of Wednesday. I hear Tuesday 8-9 PM as a possibility. That’s a slot where ABC has struggled to get traction in. I hear the most recognizable star on a new ABC comedy series, Tim Allen, may be summoned to open a comedy block for the network with his new sitcom at 8 PM, either on Tuesday or on Wednesday. Because of its tagline as Desperate Housewives in Dallas and the cancellation of Brothers and Sisters, new dramedy Good Christian Belles had been considered a perfect fit to go after Desperate Housewives, but there … Read More »

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Gretchen Berg And Aaron Harberts To Run ABC’s ‘Good Christian Belles’

By | Friday May 13, 2011 @ 10:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have been tapped to serve as executive producers/showrunners on the newly picked up ABC dramedy Good Christian Belles (form. Good Christian Bitches). The gig falls under the duo’s overall deal with ABC Studios. GCB, based on Kim Gatlin’s book, centers on Amanda (Leslie Bibb), onetime “mean girl” in high school who returns home hoping to get a second chance at winning over her old classmates. Berg and Harberts will exec produce alongside the pilot’s writer Robert Harling, Darren Star and Aaron Kaplan. ICM-repped Berg and Harberts most recently worked as executive producers on ABC/ABC Studios’ medical drama Off the Map this past season.They previously served as executive producers/co-showrunners on the NBC medical drama Mercy, as co-exec producers on the ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies and created/executive produced the WB dramedy Pepper Dennis.

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3RD UPDATE: ABC Picks Up 7 New Dramas, 5 Comedies, ‘Smothered’ Still Alive

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 1:10 PM: The last comedy pilots to get the nod at ABC today are Suburgatory and the cross-dressing Work It. Another buzzed-about pilot, Smothered, has not been picked up but remains in contention. Among those that are not moving forward is Other People’s Kids.

UPDATE 12:50 PM: ABC picked up a third new comedy, Chris Moynihan’s Man Up.

UPDATE 12:35 PM: ABC just picked up seven new drama series, early standouts Good Christian Bitches, now Good Christian Belles, and Charlie’s Angels, as well as Once Upon A Time, Pan Am, Revenge, Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal and The River. Some are for midseason. The high-profile drama pilots not to get an order include Poe, which was an early favorite of ABC chief Paul Lee but lost traction after poor testing, and Marc Cherry’s spiritual drama Hallelujah.

PREVIOUS 12:25 PM: ABC is just now making a flurry of calls to producers. The first confirmed pickups went to comedy frontrunners Apt. 23 and the Tim Allen project, now called again Last Man Standing.

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