2:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Heathers' Reboot, Alicia Silverstone Comedy Switch Networks in Viacom's Paramount Push (Exclusive)
Keith Cox is starting to formalize his Paramount Network roster of programming.
TV Land's Alicia Silverstone comedy American Woman and hourlong Heathers reboot, both developed by Cox, are moving to the upstart Paramount Network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Representatives for Paramount Network and TV Land declined comment.
Paramount Network, which is being rebranded from Spike TV, will launch in January with what is expected to be a slate of programming from various Viacom-owned networks. The female-leaning American Woman is also expected to undergo pilot reshoots to add a male lead who will heavily recur.
Rising Viacom star Cox added the role of Paramount Network president of development and production to his duties at TV Land in February. The new network will feature high-quality scripted and unscripted originals. American Woman marks the first sign of the type of programming that Cox and TV Land, CMT and Spike TV president Kevin Kay are looking to populate the upstart network with. Kay, in a memo to staff announcing the change last month, noted that the network would feature dramas, comedies, documentaries, movies, sports and tentpole events as well as films. It's unclear if there will be other programs to move to Paramount Network as insiders are currently evaluating content across all of Viacom's cable portfolio.
American Woman is inspired by the upbringing of co-executive producer Kyle Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). The single-camera comedy is set in the 1970s amid the sexual revolution and the rise of feminism. Silverstone stars as Bonnie Nolan, a mother with two daughters (Makenna James and Lia Ryan McHugh) who finds herself facing an entirely new world after she leaves her husband. With the help of her two best friends, Kathleen (Mena Suvari) and Diana (Jennifer Bartels), these three women will each discover their own brand of independence in a world reluctant to give it. The series is written by John Riggi (30 Rock), who is executive producing the Warner Bros. Television comedy alongside John Wells (Shameless, Southland, The West Wing). American Woman was originally expected to bow in either the third or fourth quarter of 2017 but will now be pushed back to launch with the rebranded network.
Heathers is an anthology based on the 1998 Christian Slater-Winona Ryder cult movie of the same name. It was scheduled to debut in the fall and was recently pulled from its planned Tribeca Film Festival debut. The series is now expected to launch in the first quarter of 2018. Heathers went through the development and pilot process as a half-hour comedy but shifted to an hourlong dramedy after the final cut clocked in at more than 40 minutes. It was slated to be TV Land's first hourlong entry as Cox had been mulling a move into drama.
Heathers and American Woman become the latest series to jump networks as Viacom begins to shuffle the deck chairs across all of its brands under new CEO Bob Bakish. The exec outlined his plan to rejuvenate the media conglomerate by focusing on six key networks: MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount Network. To that end, first-run episodes of Ru Paul's Drag Race are moving from Viacom's LGBT-focused Logo to VH1 starting March 24.