January 14, 2017 - 16:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - TV Land is boldly going where it has not gone before: into hourlong originals.
The Viacom-owned cable network has handed out a series order to its Heathers reboot and handed out an early season two renewal to Melissa McCarthy-produced comedy Nobodies. TV Land president of development Keith Cox made the announcement Friday, January 13 at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, The Hollywood Reporter reveals.
The 10-episode Heathers, based on the 1988 cult classic, becomes TV Land's first hourlong original series. Sources tell THR that Heathers was picked up to pilot and filmed as a single-camera comedy but the final cut came in at more than 40 minutes with a considerably darker tone. TV Land loved it and opted to turn it into its first hourlong. Creatively, the 10-episode order was the request of writer Jason Micallef, who asked for 10 rather than the 13 half-hours as originally planned.
Set to debut in the fall, it is described as a "pitch-black" comedic anthology. Insiders say the anthology component will be similar to FX's Fargo and feature a new group of "Heathers" — no matter the setting. The decision to shift Heathers to an hourlong format comes as TV Land was mulling a move into drama last year, having bid for Marti Noxon's Dietland (which ultimately went to AMC). "We haven't gone out into the community and said we need to be in the drama business because everyone is in it. It goes back to that we're chasers, so we're not going to sit here and hear a drama pitch. We're going to be strategic: What is our voice in drama? Then we'll go out and get it," Cox told THR during an October Executive Suite interview.
The original film, written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann, centered on Veronica (played by Winona Ryder) and her rebel boyfriend J.D. (Christian Slater) and their trials and tribulations dealing with the social order in high school. TV Land's take, set in the present day, features a new set of popular-yet-evil Heathers — only this time the outcasts have become high school royalty. Heather McNamara (originally played by Lisanne Falk) and will be portrayed by Jasmine Mathews; Heather Duke (Doherty) is a male who identifies as gender-queer whose real name is Heath (Brendan Scannell); and Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) has a body like Martha Dumptruck and will be played by Melanie Field. Newcomers James Scully and Grace Victoria Cox star as J.D. and Veronica, respectively. Original Heathers star Shannen Doherty guest stars in the pilot, which was directed by Leslye Headland and written by Micallef.
"Our take on Heathers is a cinematic, surprising and twisted comedy that gives a wonderful nod to the film while also creating something entirely its own," Cox said of the project that was developed as a single-camera comedy. "We’re really passionate about this show and the satirical story-telling its provocative characters allow."
Heathers, produced by Lakeshore Entertainment's Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi, took a long time to be adapted for television. The TV Land version marks the third time Heathers has been rebooted for the small screen. Bravo teamed with Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City) in 2012 for a reboot that centered on "the Ashleys," the next generation of mean girls and the daughters of the Heathers from the big-screen take. The hourlong drama, which hailed from Sony Pictures Television and Lakeshore's Rosenberg and Lucchesi, was scrapped in 2013. That marked the second time Bicks and Lakeshore took on Heathers after previously selling the project to Fox in 2009.
Heathers arrives as TV Land has undergone a rebranding in the past few years with a focus on single-camera and younger-skewing comedy after abandoning the multicamera fare (Hot in Cleveland, The Soul Man, The Exes) that helped put the cable network on the map as a destination for originals. To that end, all of its single-camera fare that has been picked up to series has gone on to earn a second season, including Younger, Lopez, Teachers as well as forthcoming series Throwing Shade and Nobodies. The pickup for Heathers was the last of the cabler's current crop of pilots. It will be joined on the schedule by fellow freshman American Woman, starring Alicia Silverstone. (The passed on its First Wives Club reboot.)
Nobodies, meanwhile, was picked up to series in June and doesn't premiere until March 29. The single-camera project, produced by McCarthy and husband/actor Ben Falcone, is inspired by the real lives of writers Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras (Adult Swim's Mike Tyson's Mysteries), who watched as their friends from Los Angeles-based improv and sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings went on to star in blockbuster comedies and win Oscars while they toiled away in Hollywood. The trio will write, executive produce and star in the comedy as characters who try desperately to land one of their famous friends for a feature script that they have developed, so that they, too, can rise to fame in Hollywood. MadTV's Michael McDonald serves as showrunner. From McCarthy and Falcone's On the Day banner, Falcone directed the pilot and guest stars. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live), Jim Rash (Community) and Nat Faxon (Married) also guest star in the pilot. JAX Media's Tony Hernandez also will executive produce for TV Land, expanding the partnership that currently includes Younger and former comedy The Jim Gaffigan Show.
Season two of Nobodies will consist of 12 episodes and will air in 2018.
"Picking up Nobodies for season two was a no-brainer when all these extremely talented people are behind it,” Cox said. “It’s a bold, quirky, hilarious look at what happens when you will do or say anything to succeed in Hollywood.”