11:12am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Murder Thriller Produced by Steve McPherson Lands ABC Family Pilot Pickup
ABC Family is continuing to bolster its pilot coffers with a thriller seemingly based on the Amanda Knox trial.
The younger-skewing Disney-owned cable network has ordered to pilot Guilt, a murder thriller produced by Steve McPherson, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The drama is described as an edgy, soapy thriller that revolves around an American in London who becomes the prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate. As the investigation unfolds, viewers will question whether she's a naive, young girl whose poor decisions are being magnified under the ruthless glare of the British tabloids, or whether she's a sociopath who brutally murdered her friend. Even her own sister, who comes to London to defend her, will question how well she really knows her little sister as more and more ugly truths come out.
The mystery will twist through all layers of London society — from a posh, but depraved, sex club all the way up to the Royal Family itself.
Kathryn Price created the series and will pen the script and exec produce alongside The Game Plan cohort Nichole Millard. Former ABC Entertainment chief McPherson will serve as executive producer on the series, which is a co-production of Sea to Sky Entertainment, the joint venture between Lionsgate Television and Thunderbird Films, and BV Family Productions in association with ABC Family.
For ABC Family, this marks the cabler's fifth pilot order and third drama. Guilt comes as ABC Family is looking to double its original programming content over the next four years. It joins a roster of pilots that also includes Tim Kring drama Beyond, and Jon Turteltaub hotel thriller Stay. On the comedy side, ABC Family has single-camera entry Tough Cookie from the creator of Awkward, and multicamera comedy Georgeous Morons from the producers of The Office. The network is undergoing a bit of a rebranding under president Tom Ascheim, with a renewed focus on "Becomers" and unscripted fare.
Price and Millard are repped by Paradigm, Kaplan Perrone and Jackoway Tyerman.
For McPherson, who had a first-look deal with Lionsgate, Guilt becomes his latest pilot order and potential first on the cable side. Two years ago, he developed comedy No Place Like Home for Fox, via his deal with the network. The pilot, starring Jane Kaczmarek, did not move forward.