ABC Family has the male lead for its tennis-themed drama pilot, which Jay Karas has come on board to direct. English actor Alex Roe’s first stateside role will be as a once-in-a-generation phenom in Unstrung, which is set on the pro tennis tour where brother and sister Luke (Roe) and Ellie Holt (Chanel Celaya) compete to move up the ranks. The Holts seem to have it all, but when Luke discovers that his well-meaning but controlling father and coach has kept a potentially life-altering secret from him, Luke’s world is upended. Roe’s credits include the UK series The Cut and The Fugitives. He is repped by WME, Luber Roklin Entertainment and P.J. Shapiro. Karas’ credits include Parks And Recreation, Awkward and Chelsea Handler’s After Lately. His feature film debut, Break Point, premiered at SXSW. Karas is repped by Gersh, New Wave and Hansen, Jacobson.
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Marcella Plunkett (Dark Touch) has been booked as a recurring on FX‘s How And Why, from Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich). It tells the story of Goodman Hesselman (John Hawkes), who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life. After losing his gig hosting children’s science show How And Why, he tries to start over with a new show in a little TV market in the middle of nowhere when he encounters the supernatural world. We hear Plunkett is playing two roles, Cynthia, a photographer at Goodman’s new TV station in Murfreesboro, and Magda, Mendelson’s (Michael Cera) secretary, whose day is spent in a cramped, tiny room, not much bigger than her desk. Plunkett is with Radius Entertainment and Lisa Richards Agency in Ireland.
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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 »