7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
The 19 Most-Anticipated New Scripted TV Shows of 2019
Breaking through in a Peak TV world of more than 500 scripted originals is a challenging task. That's why top showrunners and stars continue to be in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms look to cut through the cluttered landscape with familiar faces. Spinoffs and reboots are also in high demand, as most come with a preexisting viewership that reduces costs associated with marketing and promotion.
Here, in a bid to navigate the Peak TV waters, THR picks the 19 most-anticipated new shows coming in 2019. Note that the shows below are confirmed to air in 2019. While many more high-profile shows from top creators with big-name stars have been picked up across multiple outlets, few have been locked in to air in 2019. (Bookmark THR's handy guide for key premiere — and series finale — dates as most of the below are still awaiting scheduling.)
Modern Love (Amazon, awaiting premiere date)
The individual episodic anthology is based on The New York Times' column of the same name and has attracted some serious star power. Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Dev Patel, John Slattery, Andy Garcia, Cristin Milioti, Olivia Cooke, Brandon Victor Dixon and Catherine Keener, among others, have signed on to star in the eight-episode, half-hour anthology that will explore love in its multitude forms, including sexual, romantic, familial, platonic and self-love. Filmmaker John Carney (Once, Sing Street) will write, direct and produce the series, which hails from Storied Media Group and The New York Times. Modern Love is one of Amazon's top priorities under new programming head Jennifer Salke, who has made a push for female-driven fare among her top priorities. "We're looking for our next big show that women also can't stop talking about," Salke told The Hollywood Reporter.
Untitled morning show drama (Apple, summer)
Friends alum Jennifer Aniston is returning to television alongside Reese Witherspoon in an untitled morning show drama that will likely bow on Apple's TV platforms in summer 2019, though the tech giant has yet to confirm just how (and when) its high-profile scripted originals will be distributed. Still, sources say the morning show drama will be among the first scripted offerings to bow on Apple as the series represents a major swing after the company won a multiple-outlet bidding war for the series that will use CNN reporter Brian Stelter's Top of the Morning as background information.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Disney Plus, late 2019)
Disney is going big with its forthcoming Netflix rival, Disney Plus. The direct-to-consumer subscription service will tout Disney's massive library as well as new scripted originals from the company's Marvel and Lucasfilm, including The Mandalorian, the Star Wars drama starring Pedro Pascal from Jon Favreau. The series takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi and before the First Order rose to replace the Empire. Directors on the high-profile scripted series include Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard. The Mandalorian, which will likely bow with episodes dropping weekly, is one of multiple Star Wars originals set for Disney Plus as the service will likely launch with its new High School Musical show as well.
The Twilight Zone (CBS All Access, awaiting premiere date)
CBS All Access continues to mine CBS TV Studios' archives with the Jordan Peele-produced reboot of Rod Serling's iconic sci-fi masterpiece. So far, the individual episodic anthology has attracted an impressive list of stars, including Sanaa Lathan, Adam Scott, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cho and Jacob Tremblay, with more to come.
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (Freeform, awaiting premiere date)
Freeform's brand-defining series returns with The Perfectionists, which Disney's younger-skewing cable arm hopes will resonate with viewers who made the original a social media powerhouse. The new take is based on PLL author Sara Shepard's book The Perfectionists, with the series first put in development as an unrelated series back in 2014. Freeform then merged two ideas and expanded its franchise to a third show. PLL stars Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish reprise their roles in the drama from showrunner I. Marlene King.
Fosse/Verdon (FX, spring)
FX has a stacked 2019 that includes a reboot of cult hit What We Do in the Shadows (spring), Alex Garland's Devs (fall) and likely its take on Y: The Last Man (which is currently a pilot but expected to be picked up to series), but it's the star-studded Fosse/Verdon limited series that has our attention. The eight-episode show follows the romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) and Gwen Verdon (Michelle Williams) and boasts Dear Evan Hansen's Steven Levenson as showrunner with Hamilton Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda exec producing and Thomas Kail directing.
Watchmen (HBO, awaiting premiere date)
HBO, under a corporate mandate to get more originals on its schedule, also has a big 2019 coming with the final seasons of Game of Thrones, Veep and The Deuce joining buzzy new series including Euphoria — already garnering buzz — and Damon Lindelof's take on Alan Moore's beloved Watchmen. Lindelof grew up a die-hard fan of the comics and is taking a "remix" approach to the graphic novel. Set in an alternate history where "superheroes" are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own. The show includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson and Louis Gossett Jr., among others.
Catch-22 (Hulu, awaiting premiere date)
Joseph Heller's seminal novel gets the limited-series treatment with mega-fan George Clooney co-writing, co-starring, directing and producing. Kyle Chandler will star in the six-episode series that marks Clooney's return to series regular TV after ER. The World War II drama is part of an impressive 2019 lineup at Hulu that includes a new season of Veronica Mars, a take on Four Weddings and a Funeral and buzzy comedy Pen15 (spring).
Untitled Roger Ailes drama (Showtime, awaiting premiere date)
Gabriel Sherman's book The Loudest Voice in the Room gets the TV treatment with Russell Crowe taking on Fox News founder Roger Ailes in the eight-episode limited series. Sherman, who interviewed more than 600 people for his book, co-wrote the pilot alongside Spotlight's Tom McCarthy. Naomi Watts stars as Gretchen Carlson, Sienna Miller will play Beth Ailes and Seth MacFarlane will take on the part of Brian Lewis, the former head of PR for Fox News and an Ailes confidant.
Snowpiercer (TNT, summer)
The TV take on the 2013 cult hit Korean feature film was buzzy the minute it was put in development with genre favorite Josh Friedman attached to pen the script back in 2015. The buzz grew louder when Jennifer Connelly and Hamilton's Daveed Diggs were tapped to star in the TNT pilot that was picked up to series in January 2018. The buzz grew to gossip when Friedman was pushed out by TNT and replaced with Orphan Black's Graeme Manson, whose new vision was "radically different" from the one Friedman used to garner a series order. That was enough to get It director Scott Derrickson to quit the project after stepping down from helming Locke and Key in favor of the TNT show. While TNT's Chris Pine and Patty Jenkins drama I Am the Night could have easily been on this list instead, the question of whether Manson's take on Snowpiercer will be worth having endured a year of black eyes made that a far more compelling pick for this list.
NOS4A2 (AMC, awaiting premiere date)
Zachary Quinto returns to television following his time in the Star Trek universe in AMC's NOS4A2, based on acclaimed horror writer Joe Hill's novel of the same name. Hill's work — the writer also has Netflix's Locke and Key in the works — was picked up to series in April as part of AMC's scripts-to-series development model. Quinto stars in the 10-episode drama as Charlie Manx, an immortal who sustains himself by feeding on the souls of children. He then drops what remains in Christmasland, a twisted Christmas village of Manx's imagination where it's always Christmas and unhappiness is illegal. Ashleigh Cummings co-stars in the series from showrunner Jami O'Brien (Fear the Walking Dead).
Untitled Suits spinoff (USA Network, awaiting premiere date)
Another spinoff of a legacy show, Gina Torres will reprise her Suits character as lawyer Jessica Pearson adjusts to the dirty world of Chicago politics in the drama from Aaron Korsh. Torres starred for six seasons on the flagship series before exiting to pursue new ventures (including a brief stint in Shondaland) before returning to USA Network. With Suits awaiting word on a potential ninth season, the Torres-led offshoot could either expand that franchise or help redefine the cabler, which will part ways with Mr. Robot in 2019.
The Village (NBC, March 12)
It's a testament to the volume in the Peak TV era that only one slot on this list is reserved for broadcast originals. Midseason has a few interesting and timely dramas — CBS' The Red Line, CW's Roswell, ABC's Whiskey Cavalier and Fox's redeveloped The Passage — but it's NBC's The Village that wins this slot. The drama, described as This Is Us but set in a Brooklyn apartment building, had been a frontrunner all through pilot season before its eventual series pickup. Michaela McManus, Lorraine Toussaint and Daren Kagasoff star in the series from Mike Daniels, which will be paired with, you guessed it, This Is Us when it debuts in March.
Boomerang (BET, Feb. 12)
The TV sequel to the 1992 Eddie Murphy feature is the first new series to roll out as part of new BET president Scott Mills' ambitious plan to double down on scripted fare. The series boasts original co-star Halle Berry and Lena Waithe as exec producers, with the latter Emmy-winning scribe having co-written the pilot. The 10-episode comedy, from showrunner Ben Cory Jones (Insecure) stars Tetona Jackson, Tequan Richmond and Leland Martin. Should Boomerang work, it would bode well for the Viacom-owned cable network to better compete with rivals like OWN and Netflix while also setting the stage for a roster that includes Paramount Network import First Wives Club, American Soul and Peachtree Place.
Our Lady, LTD (Epix, awaiting premiere date)
Just as BET is looking to up its scripted game, so is MGM-owned premium cabler Epix. New network president Michael Wright is looking for big-name stars and proved IP (like Batman drama Pennyworth) to cut through and find a brand-defining hit. The hope is that Ben Kingsley will help bring in new viewers when he takes on the lead role in Our Lady, LTD, a 10-episode modern noir series from Patriot creator Steve Conrad about a young grifter as he attempts to prey upon Pastor Byron Brown (Kingsley), who turns out to be far more dangerous than the former suspects. The series regular role is Kingsley's largest TV commitment in his decades-long career.
The Spanish Princess (Starz, spring)
The Spanish Princess is the third series in the White Queen and White Princess franchise based on author Philippa Gregory's historical novels. It arrives with high expectations after The White Queen became an awards favorite, earning four Emmy noms and three Golden Globe mentions while launching the stateside career of star Rebecca Ferguson. The White Princess did the same for Jodie Comer, who has gone on to become a favorite with BBC America's Killing Eve. Charlotte Hope (Game of Thrones) takes on the lead in Spanish Princess as Catherine of Aragon.
Living With Yourself (Netflix, awaiting premiere date)
Two Paul Rudds are better than one as the Ant Man and Wet Hot American Summer star takes on dual roles in what the streaming giant is calling a "fresh and inventive" philosophical comedy that asks if people really want to be better. The series from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart's Timothy Greenberg tells the story of a man struggling with his life who undergoes a novel treatment to become a better person. He then finds he's been replaced by a new and improved version — revealing that his own worst enemy is himself. The comedy was originally ordered to pilot at IFC in 2017 (without Rudd).
Umbrella Academy (Netflix, Feb. 15)
With its Marvel relationship souring, Netflix has high hopes for a new superhero franchise via My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way's beloved comic. The live-action drama about estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes has attracted an impressive cast — Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige, Tom Hopper, Kate Walsh and Cameron Britton — with an early December teaser trailer further stoking the flame.
Central Park Five (Netflix, awaiting premiere date)
Yes, Netflix is the lone outlet to score multiple slots on this list — but given it’s the volume of content and talent attached, it's easily justified. With a lineup that easily could have seen RuPaul comedy AJ and the Queen, Idris Elba's Turn Up Charlie and even Tiffany Haddish/Ali Wong animated comedy Tuca and Bertie make this list, Netflix also may have its first Shonda Rhimes show in 2019. Given its impressive pipeline, we're reserving the final slot on this list for Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five, the four-episode narrative series chronicling the notorious case of five teenagers of color who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. DuVernay's follow-up to Oscar-nominated doc 13th is exec produced by Oprah Winfrey and boasts a cast that includes Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash and Aunjanue Ellis, among others.