Showtime's 'The L Word' Revival Finds Its Showrunner

Marja-Lewis Ryan - P Showtime 2017
Courtesy of Showtime

Showtime's The L Word revival just inched a step closer to becoming a reality.

Playwright and screenwriter Marja-Lewis Ryan has been tapped to serve as showrunner and exec producer of the drama, which remains in development at the premium cable network.

The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken will also exec produce alongside Ryan and original series stars Jennifer Beals (Bette), Katherine Moennig (Shane) and Leisha Hailey (Alice).

"Ilene and the original L Word made me believe that my voice mattered,” Ryan said. “I am beyond excited for the opportunity to usher in the next generation of diverse queer people. I couldn’t imagine a better time to make this show."

For her part, the out Ryan wrote and directed the upcoming feature 6 Balloons starring Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco. She's also penning the screenplay for the revival of Splash, starring Channing Tatum and Jillian Bell and Buried Bodies for Noah Hawley (Fargo) and Fox Searchlight. Her play One in the Chamber won the L.A. Drama Critics Circle award for best writing and best production and her film The Four-Faced Liar — adapted from her play of the same name — won the Outfest audience award for best first feature (she starred in both productions). This will be her first television foray.

Showtime in July announced that it would be developing a reboot of the groundbreaking Chaiken-created drama The L Word. The reboot, which comes eight-plus years after the original wrapped its six-season run, is considered a sequel to the original. Should the reboot move forward, the plan is for the original stars — Beals, Moennig and Hailey — to appear and help introduce a new ensemble of what Showtime described as self-possessed LGBTQIA characters experiencing love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success on the east side of L.A.

A search has been underway since then for a writer with ties to the LGBTQ community to document how relationships, lives and experiences have evolved — as well as what has and hasn't changed since the show launched in 2004.

Chaiken, who recently renewed her overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, serves as showrunner on Fox hip-hop drama Empire, with that commitment prohibiting her from having a larger role on the L Word sequel. (She also exec produces Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale after writing the original draft for Showtime, which passed on the Emmy-winning drama.) 

Ryan is repped by UTA, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and attorney Tara Kole