August 07, 2011 2:54pm PT by Philiana Ng
'The Lying Game' Producer on 'Ringer' Comparison: 'Our Show Is Very Different'
On paper, ABC Family's new summer drama The Lying Game sounds oddly similar to the CW's Ringer starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.
But executive producer and daytime veteran Charles Pratt, Jr. insists that the teen series, which premieres Monday, Aug. 15 at 9 p.m., is not.
"Our show is very different," Pratt told reporters on Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour. "We do appeal to the romantic side of things ... the concept of friends, the concept of the search for the biological parents."
Pratt admitted that he had not seen Ringer, which sees Gellar pulling double duty, but he's leaving it up to the public to decide whether his series -- based on Sara Shepard novels -- will last. "Whether it helps us or hurts us, I don't know," he said. "I leave that up to the viewers."
Heroes vet Adrian Pasdar will play a key role beginning in the second episode, which The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive photo from, as a Scottsdale-based district attorney and the father of two children (one in high school and the other in Los Angeles). He and the rest of the panelists were mum on details of the drama's plot, but did offer this. "The mistakes you make as a younger can bite you in the ass as an adult," Pasdar said.
Much like Pretty Little Liars, Pratt revealed that there will most likely be a cliffhanger in every episode. "We'll definitely be dealing with high school and a lot of those things like best frinds and dealing with your parents and boyfriends," he said. "There's only one requirement on the show: You have to be a part of the central mystery."
Star Alexandra Chando honed her skills on CBS' As the World Turns playing Maddie for several years. "Daytime certainly primed me for a role like this," she said, as she plays twins Emma and Sutton.
But will the series stay true to the books? "There are certain aspects of the book that would make it a very difficult TV series," Pratt said. "Murder and certain things happen."
Pratt said that readers of the Lying Game books will still be shocked and surprised by what will play out in the show. "If they read the book, they'll think this is a prequel," he explained. "We're not necessarily going to solve it the way the books are."
With the lead characters mainly in high school, Pratt addressed how long they would be staying there. "Say we had 20 episodes, that would be one school year," he said. "We've slowed it down just for the nature of the story. We've got at least two years in high school, which would turn into three seasons when we break it down."
Asked why soaps like this seem to be more successful in primetime than in the dayparts, Pratt -- who has worked on General Hospital, Melrose Place and Santa Barbara -- believed there was more longevity. "It's a kind of storytelling that if you contemporize it, you can take the stigma of soap opera off of it, which have basically had to cater to an older audience for lack of a better word," Pratt said. "Here we get a chance to get new viewers."