2:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
TV Land Orders 'First Wives Club,' Kyle Richards Pilots, Renews 'Teachers,' More
TV Land is continuing to invest in its new direction.
The Viacom-owned cable network on Thursday used its upfront presentation to announce that it has signed Younger creator Darren Star to its first overall deal, renewed comedy Teachers for a second season and ordered pilots for a remake of The First Wives Club and a comedy inspired by the life of Real Housewives' Kyle Richards.
"Looking ahead, we’re developing shows that are funny but also embrace real dramatic moments,” said TV Land exec vp Keith Cox. “We’re fortunate to be working with such amazing collaborators as we continue to reinvent the network.”
The deal with Star ensures that the Sex and the City alum will remain in business with TV Land and will develop another project for the cable network. Younger, starring Sutton Foster, received an early vote of confidence from the cabler in January when the comedy was renewed for a third season ahead of its sophomore debut. He is repped by UTA, Kapital Entertainment and ZIffren Brittenham.
Teachers, meanwhile, has been picked up for a supersized second season consisting of 20 episodes. The comedy, based on the web series of the same name, opened in January to favorable reviews and most recently collected 574,000 total viewers (with three days of DVR). TV Land notes that the show — executive produced by Alison Brie and starring/created by "The Katydids" Caitlin Barlow, Katy Colloton, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O'Brien and Katie Thomas — has been a strong performer across multiple platforms.
On the pilot side, TV Land has picked up a comedy based on The First Wives Club. The long-gestating project will be written by New Girl's Rebecca Addelman and exec produced by Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City, The Big C). Based on the book by Olivia Goldsmith, the project centers on a group of divorced women who seek revenge on the ex-husbands who left them for younger women. The book was adapted for the big screen in 1996, with Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn starring. Corporate sibling Paramount Pictures distributed the movie, which grossed $105 million on a budget of $30 million.
The TV Land version will take place in modern-day San Francisco and center on three friends and former classmates from the 1990s who reconnect after their close friend from college dies in a freak accident. When they all discover that they're at a romantic crossroads, they unite to tackle divorce, relationships and life's other challenges. Paramount Television (HBO's Vinyl, USA's Shooter, TNT's The Alienist) will produce the potential series.
Also picked up to pilot is an untitled comedy based on the life of Richards. First put into development in June, the half-hour single-camera scripted effort is set in the 1970s and inspired by Richards' upbringing. The dark comedy centers on Bonnie Nolan, a 40-year-old woman who struggles to raise a family and claim her own brand of independence in a world not ready to give it. Bonnie, who has a beautiful home and three beautiful daughters, also has a cheating husband. Finding herself alone after her marriage fails, she has no means to support herself or her children. Produced by Warner Horizon Television, 30 Rock alum John Riggi will pen the script and exec produce alongside John Wells (Shameless, Southland, The West Wing). Richards will co-executive produce.
The news comes as TV Land has undergone a rebranding in the past year with a focus on single-camera 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 original scripted programming. 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, The Jim Gaffigan Show and Impastor. The cabler also has George Lopez comedy Lopez set to bow March 30 and recently picked up Melissa McCarthy-Ben Falcone comedy Nobodies — based on the lives of their Groundlings friends — to pilot. The network recently passed on comedy pilot I Shudder, starring Hamish Linklater and Megan Hilty.