6:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
The 20 Most-Anticipated New Scripted TV Shows in 2020
Breaking through in a Peak TV world of more than 500 (and quite possibly 600!) 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 alike look to cut through the cluttered landscape with familiar faces and titles. Spinoffs and reboots continue to remain 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 20 most-anticipated new scripted TV shows coming in 2020. Note that the programs below are confirmed to air in 2020 — at least as of press time (we're looking at you, Snowpiercer). 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 2020. Those include highly anticipated takes on Lord of the Rings (Amazon) and Halo (Showtime), which won't arrive until 2021. Oh, and HBO's Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon? It hasn't even begun casting yet, so add that to the lengthy list of the dateless. Still, there's plenty of originals to be excited for in the year ahead as two more streaming platforms (WarnerMedia's HBO Max and NBCUniversal's Peacock) join the crowded landscape with a wave of familiar and intriguing titles. Listed below are The Hollywood Reporter's picks for the most-anticipated new scripted series earmarked for 2020 (and presented in alphabetical order). Be sure to bookmark THR's handy guide for key premiere — and series finale — dates as most of the shows below are still awaiting scheduling.
(Note: Only new scripted series qualify for this list. New seasons of anthologies do not count.)
Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens (Comedy Central, Jan. 22)
The Farewell and Crazy Rich Asians favorite heads to television as the lead of her own series. In addition to starring, Awkwafina created the half-hour series and penned the scripted comedy that is inspired by her life growing up in Flushing, Queens. Raised by her dad (BD Wong) and Grandma (Lori Tan Chinn) alongside her cousin (Bowen Yang), Nora Lin leans on her family as she navigates life and young adulthood in New York.
Briarpatch (USA Network, Feb. 6)
Based on the Ross Thomas novel of the same name, the anthology starring Rosario Dawson follows Allegra Dill, an investigator returning to her border-town Texas home after her sister is killed. What begins as a search for a killer turns into an all-consuming fight to bring her corrupt series to its knees. The drama, which counts Mr. Robot's Sam Esmail among its exec producers, is described as a mix of crime and pulp fiction. Andy Greenwald penned the script.
Bridgerton (Netflix, 2020)
No pressure, but the London-shot period soapy drama is the first scripted original series from exec producer Shonda Rhimes that is made specifically for the streamer. Written by Scandal grad Chris Van Dusen, the drama is based on Julia Quinn's best-selling novels about the sexy, lavish and competitive world of Regency London high society. Julie Andrews provides the voiceover of an unseen gossip writer, while Regé-Jean Page is set as the male lead. Both reunite with Rhimes following roles in The Princess Diaries 2 and For the People, respectively. Bridgerton is the first of a nine-series(and counting) slate that Rhimes has in the works at Netflix.
Central Park (Apple TV+, 2020)
Apple has an impressive roster of live-action scripted originals in the works for 2020 — anthologies Little America and Amazing Stories, Sara Bareilles-J.J. Abrams' Little Voice and Chris Evans' limited series Defending Jacob among them — but it's this animated comedy from Bob's Burgers creator Loren Bouchard that has the most upside for the tech giant. Bouchard has quietly become one of the biggest names in animation thanks in part to his beloved (and long-running) Fox comedy, and the comedy featuring a star-studded voice cast including Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Tituss Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs and Kathryn Hahn could bring an entirely new audience to the TV+ community (and become a licensing hit). The comedy about a family of caretakers who live and work in Central Park and end up saving the park and the world landed at Apple following a competitive bidding war with a two-season order.
Falcon and Winter Soldier (Disney+, 2020)
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles as Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in the miniseries from Malcom Spellman (Empire) that is considered a spinoff from the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series is the first TV effort to come from Marvel's film division — not outgoing Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb — so expect this one to really be "connected" to the larger MCU as Disney hopes the franchise's success seeps into subscriptions for its streaming service. Emily Van Camp and Daniel Bruhl reprise their Marvel roles and are joined by Wyatt Russell, Desmond Chiam and Miki Ishikawa.
Hollywood (Netflix, May 1)
Yes, prolific producer Ryan Murphy has already done The Politician for Netflix via his former home at 20th Century Fox TV, but Hollywood will mark his first original series that is produced by the streaming giant. The series will examine Hollywood and the sex industry and how, in his words, "everything has changed and nothing has changed." The series is considered a love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown. Darren Criss (Versace, Glee) stars in and exec produces the limited series. The star-studded cast also features Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, Patti LuPone, Holland Taylor, Jeremy Pope, Samara Weaving, Maude Apatow and Jake Picking, with the latter portraying Rock Hudson.
Hunters (Amazon, 2020)
Al Pacino stars in this Jordan Peele-produced drama series about a diverse band of Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York. The so-called Hunters have discovered hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officials who are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Josh Radnor and Carol Kane star in the series from creator David Weil (Moonfall).
Impeachment: American Crime Story (FX, Sept. 27)
The third season of Ryan Murphy's Emmy-winning anthology will focus on the saga of the Clinton presidency scandal with Monica Lewinsky on board to produce. Sarah Paulson will star as Linda Tripp; Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) plays Lewinsky; and Annaleigh Ashford (season two of ACS) is set as Paula Jones. The premiere date — in the middle of the presidential election cycle — drew immediate backlash and, per sources, could be delayed.
Sarah Burgess penned the script for the season, which is based on Jeffrey Toobin's best-seller A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. It is the same book that Murphy optioned in January 2017 and later had second thoughts about telling Lewinsky's story.
Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu, March 18)
Following an ultra-competitive multiple-platform bidding war, the Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington limited series landed at Hulu with an eight-episode commitment. Based on Celeste Ng's best-seller, Little Fires follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Joshua Jackson, Rosemarie DeWitt and Jade Pettyjohn also star in the story that explores the nature of art and identity and the ferocious pull of motherhood. Liz Tigelaar (Casual) serves as creator and showrunner. Witherspoon and Washington also exec produce.
Lizzie McGuire (Disney+, 2020)
Disney+ already has a hold on the fanboy crowd and this update — featuring all the core stars returning to reprise their beloved roles — will do a lot (if successful) to bring in women and families who haven't already subscribed to the platform. Hilary Duff will reprise her role in the update from original series creator Terri Minsky. The new take will see Lizzie as a 30-year-old millennial navigating life in New York.
Love, Beth (Hulu, late 2020)
Trainwreck star Amy Schumer returns to television for the first time since her still-in-limbo Comedy Central show helped launch her career. Schumer will create, direct, write, exec produce and star in the 10-episode scripted comedy series whose plot details are being kept under wraps. And yes, we're putting a show with a top-secret premise on this list based on merely the strength of Schumer's brand and Hulu's comedy track record. (See Pen15, Shrill, Ramy….)
Love Life (HBO Max, May)
One of the scripted originals that are expected to be available when WarnerMedia's streaming service launches in the summer, Anna Kendrick stars in the 10-episode comedic anthology that reunites her with A Simple Favor's Paul Feig. The series follows Kendrick's character from her first to last love and explores how the people we're with along the way make us into who we are when we end up with our forever person. Sam Boyd created the comedy.
Mrs. America (FX on Hulu, 2020)
The nine-episode limited series explores the real-life movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and the unexpected backlash led by a conservative woman named Phyllis Schlafly. Cate Blanchett stars as Schlafly in a story that explores one of the toughest battlegrounds in the culture wars of the '70s that helped give rise to the Moral Majority and forever shifted the political landscape. The impressive cast also features Uzo Aduba, Rose Byrne (as Gloria Steinem), Melanie Lynskey, James Marsden, Margo Martindale, Sarah Paulson, John Slattery, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tracey Ullman. The series, developed and originally picked up to air on FX, will launch on Hulu as one of the four shows (and counting) the linear cable network will program for the streamer. How the latter arrangement will work is almost as compelling as the show.
Run (HBO, 2020)
Created and written by Vicky Jones (Killing Eve, Fleabag), the scripted comedy stars Merritt Wever (Unbelievable, Nurse Jackie) as a woman who gets a text inviting her to fulfill a youthful pact promising true love and self-reinvention by stepping out of her humdrum life and taking a journey with her oldest flame. Domhnall Gleeson co-stars in the series, which counts awards darling Phoebe Waller-Bridge as an exec producer. The latter will also have a recurring role in the series.
Saved by the Bell (Peacock, 2020)
While Peacock doesn't have a formal launch date, sources say the forthcoming streaming service from NBCUniversal will debut in 2020 and feature programming including the Saved by the Bell TV sequel. From showrunner Tracey Wigfield (Great News), original stars Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley will reprise their roles as A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano in the half-hour comedy that explores what happens when California Gov. Zack Morris (Mark Gosselaar's role) gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools and proposes the affected students be sent to the highest-performing schools in the state — including Bayside High. Sources also note that podcast adaptation Dr. Death, starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, will also be part of Peacock's first-year offerings.
Space Force (Netflix)
Perhaps the most-anticipated new comedy in 2020: Steve Carell reteams with The Office creator Greg Daniels for this half-hour inspired by President Trump's idea for a space force as the sixth branch of the military. Co-created by Carell and Daniels, the former stars in the workplace comedy centered around the people tasked with creating said space force. Sources say Carell's deal sets a new overall record for talent when factoring in fees for co-creating and exec producing the series. Netflix heavily pursued the series as repeats of The Office rank among the streamer's most-watched acquired programming. (And The Office is moving to Peacock in 2020.)
Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access, Jan. 23)
Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Jean-Luc Picard in the CBS All Access series that explores what happened to the beloved character since The Next Generation wrapped. The drama takes place 20 years after Picard was last seen in 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. Original stars Brent Spiner, Jeri Ryan, Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes will also reprise their roles in the series that is the latest and easily the most high-profile of the growing number of Star Trek originals in the works for the streaming platform. A second season of the drama, which counts showrunner Michael Chabon and Alex Kurtzman among its exec producers, is already in the works.
Y: The Last Man (FX, 2020)
It's actually happening. Following years of attempts to bring Brian K. Vaughan's beloved comic to the big screen, he regained the rights to the property and set it up at FX in 2015. The John Landgraf-led cable network spent a long time working to ensure the network had the right take and eventually ordered it to series. However, two months after the series order, showrunners Aida Croal and Michael Green departed the story of the last man on earth. The duo were replaced by Eliza Clark (Extant), and the drama starring Barry Keoghan and Diane Lane remains on track for a 2020 launch.
Your Honor (Showtime, 2020)
Here's a pairing we can get behind. Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) will star as a judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices from The Good Fight creators Robert and Michelle King. Peter Moffat, whose Criminal Justice was rebooted as HBO's Emmy-winning limited series The Night Of, serves as showrunner. Michael Stuhlbarg and Carmen Ejogo co-star in the 10-episode drama.
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (NBC, Jan. 7)
Think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend meets Glee. Jane Levy (Castle Rock, Suburgatory) stars in the musical dramedy that revolves around a whip-smart but socially awkward girl who starts hearing people's thoughts expressed as songs — or sometimes full musical numbers. She uses her gift to help understand people in her own life and, naturally, to help others around her. Paul Feig exec produces the series from creator Austin Winsberg. Gilmore Girls and Parenthood favorite Lauren Graham plays Levy's boss, and the cast also features Skylar Astin, Mary Steenburgen, Peter Gallagher and Alex Newell.