12:29pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Family Orders Three Drama Pilots
ABC Family has added three drama pilots to its development slate and renewed comedies Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy for additional seasons.
The youth-skewing Disney-owned cable network has added drama pilot Alice in Arabia, Recovery Road and Unstrung, while Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy will be back for their respective fourth seasons.
“These three powerful new dramas are a great fit with ABC Family’s brand of original programming known for diverse stories that challenge as well as entertain our viewers,” ABC Family president Tom Ascheim said. “We’re also delighted to produce more episodes of Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy, two series that together have helped ABC Family establish a strong comedy block that continues to make our audience laugh out loud.”
The three dramas join a slate that also includes comedy pilot Work Mom and come after ABC Family recently picked up two new comedy series: Tori Spelling's Mystery Girls and the Ashley Tisdale-produced Young & Hungry. The dramas arrive following ABC Family's cancellation of Pretty Little Liars spinoff Ravenswood after one season. Should any or all of the dramas move forward, they would join PLL, Twisted and The Fosters at the network.
Here's a look at the three dramas:
Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the U.S. Army as a cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 specialist.
Based on the popular young-adult novel by Blake Nelson, Recovery Road focuses on a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Maddie has a reputation as a party girl who doesn’t think she has a problem, until she’s confronted one day by her school guidance counselor and forced to choose between expulsion and rehab. Trying to save face, Maddie chooses to spend her nights living with other recovering addicts at a rehab facility, and her days pretending everything is perfectly normal among her high school classmates and her closest friends. The pilot was written by Bert V. Royal (Easy A) and Karen DiConcetto (Ruby & The Rockits). Beth Miller (Revenge of the Bridesmaids) and Craig Piligian (Survivor) from Pilgrim Studios and Danielle von Zerneck (Left to Die) will serve as executive producers.
Unstrung explores the sexy, cutthroat and emotional stakes of the professional world tour of tennis as brother and sister Luke and Ellie Holt compete to move up the ranks. The Holts may seem to have it all in a world where success is not only determined by prowess on the court, but by looks, charm and the ability to hide your faults under pressure from fans, critics, opponents and even your closest allies. But a major family secret threatens to turn their lives, and their hard-earned family “brand,” upside down. Emily Whitesell (Life Unexpected) will executive produce.
Melissa & Joey, starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, will see the series top the 100-episode milestone. Both Melissa & Joey and Baby Daddy have been standout performers for ABC Family, notching 17-month highs in total viewers and key demos in January.