Dramas From Kevin Williamson, Reese Witherspoon, 'Agent Carter' Duo Among ABC Pilot Pickups

Thursday's four pickups bring the network's drama haul to 11 — off one from a year ago.
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Witherspoon

ABC is adding to its drama pilot haul.

The network on Thursday picked up four new drama pilots from producers Kevin Williamson, Reese Witherspoon and Agent Carter's Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, among others, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

First, Witherspoon's untitled divorce drama (formerly known as Please Don't Go) scored a script commitment in December. It focuses on a ruthless Dallas divorce attorney, whose life begins to unravel when her emotionally damaged, love-addicted sister resurfaces triggering self-destructive tendencies and exposing long-hidden family secrets. Fear the Walking Dead's Meaghan Oppenheimer created the drama and will exec produce the project alongside Witherspoon and her ABC Studios-based Pacific Standard topper Bruna Papandrea. The drama was one of multiple sales this development season for Pacific Standard. The company also is readying a romantic mystery drama from Rob Long for ABC and is among the producers attached to HBO's Big Little Liesin which Witherspoon will star.

Divorce has been one of the bigger trends to emerge this development season as broadcasters look for the family dynamic that isn't currently on the air. ABC is teaming with romance novelist Nicholas Sparks and super-producer Shonda Rhimes for two different divorce comedies. HBO, meanwhile, has Sarah Jessica Parker comedy series Divorce coming this year.

Second, Williamson's Time After Time is based on the Karl Alexander novel of the same name. The drama uses the 1979 book and subsequent movie as a starting point and chronicles the adventures of a young H.G. Wells and his time machine. Williamson will pen the script and exec produce via his studio-based Outerbanks banner. The Warner Bros. Television drama marks Williamson's second pilot order of the season and joins Fox's Recon, which reunites him with The Vampire Diaries' Julie Plec and Caroline Dries. 

Time travel continues to be in high demand this pilot season (and comes on the heels of The CW's similarly themed DC Comics entry Legends of Tomorrow). There's also NBC's Time, from Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke, and the Fox comedy formerly known as In Time from The Last Man on Earth's Phil Lord and Chris Miller, among others. (Meanwhile, Comedy Central has Time Traveling Bong and Hulu has 11.22.63, among others.)

ABC's third order of the day is Spark, a drama set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world. The so-called genre soap centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires. Michael Cooney (Center Stage) penned the script and will exec produce the ABC Studios project alongside Ian Sander and Kim Moses (RecklessGhost Whisperer).

Rounding out the orders is The Death of Eva Sofia Valdez, from ABC Studios-based Agent Carter duo Fazekas and Butters. The soap is described as Macbeth with a Cuban twist and centers on Eva Sofia Valdez, an immigrant who rose from rags to riches. The character is a Miami entrepreneur and a champion for immigrant rights — but her success is fueled by an insatiable ambition that could destroy her family, a vendetta against the lover who betrayed her and ghosts from the past who threaten to reveal the dark sacrifices she made to attain the American Dream. Fazekas and Butters will exec produce alongside Charise Castro Smith (Devious Maids), who will pen the script. The project marks ABC's second Shakespeare-themed drama this season and joins Shondaland's Romeo and Juliet follow-up Still Star-Crossed.
 
The four pickups bring ABC's drama haul to 11 this pilot season. They join previously announced drama pilots including Model Woman, Kiefer Suthlerland's Designated Survivor (picked up straight to series), courtroom anthology The Jurylegal soap Conviction, Agents of SHIELD spinoff Marvel's Most WantedJohn Ridley's PI drama Presence and Shondaland's Still Star-CrossedLast season, the network ordered 12 dramas to pilot (down one from 2014).

Keep up with all the latest pilot news with THR's handy guide to pilot season.
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