9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Paramount Network Doubles Down on Darren Star With 'Younger,' 'Emily in Paris'
Paramount Network is doubling down on Darren Star.
The Viacom-owned cable network has ordered Emily in Paris, a new half-hour comedy from the Sex and the City creator, and has poached Star's Younger from corporate sibling TV Land.
Viacom's general entertainment hub, which was rebranded from Spike TV in January, will begin airing Younger in the spring with its previously announced sixth season. Emily in Paris, which was put into development last October, will debut in summer 2019. Both shows will be part of Paramount Network's Thursday dramedy night that will launch in January with First Wives Club, the reboot from Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip).
"With Darren's proven history as a hitmaker and Tracy Oliver’s fresh voice and perspective, we see a tremendous opportunity to build Thursday nights as destination viewing for fun female-driven dramedies,” said Keith Cox, president of development and originals at Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT. "Younger is a huge hit with a passionate fanbase that’s the perfect centerpiece to this lineup."
Emily in Paris revolves around twenty-something Emily, an American from the Midwest who moves to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity who is tasked with bringing her American point of view to a French marketing firm. Production will begin early next year in Paris on the series, which will be written by Star and executive produced by Jax Media's Tony Hernandez. The series stems from Star's overall deal with Viacom.
"I am thrilled to be continuing my journey with Younger and now Emily in Paris on the Paramount Network,” Star said. “Keith and his entire team inspire me with their passion and enthusiasm."
Younger is fresh off its fifth season on TV Land and wrapped with its highest ratings ever among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic — the same viewers that Paramount Network is courting. The series was developed by Cox as TV Land's first single-camera comedy as part of his push for edgier fare on the cable network that was previously best known for syndicated repeats and multicamera originals like Betty White's Hot in Cleveland.
After Paramount Network poached TV Land originals Nobodies, Heathers and American Woman, Cox and Paramount Network, TV Land and CMT president Kevin Kay were both adamant that Younger would remain where it was. "We're not moving Younger anytime. Younger is a staple of TV Land. What we are thinking about is Darren Star has another project in development here and we're not really sure where that lands. Once we know more about it, we'll make a decision about whether that is a TV Land show or a Paramount show," Kay told The Hollywood Reporter in March 2017.
With Younger moving to Paramount Network, TV Land now appears poised to completely exit the scripted space as its lone original is Teachers. A return date for the second half of season three has not yet been determined. TV Land stopped buying scripted originals months ago and does not have anything in development. As part of Viacom's rebuilding efforts, the media conglomerate is focused on six key networks: Paramount Network, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., leaving TV Land, VH1, Logo and CMT out of the mix. CMT exited scripted earlier this year when Nashville wrapped its run. Representatives for TV Land declined comment.
Paramount Network has had a rocky first year. Spike was selected for rebranding as part of Viacom's larger push to reinvigorate its cable networks. Paramount Network has full HD penetration, while TV Land's affiliate agreements would not allow the rebranding. Paramount Network is charged with becoming Viacom's general entertainment destination as it searches for broad-skewing programming. The network launched with limited series Waco (originally picked up for Spike) and had slotted its Heathers reboot for summer. Paramount Network then opted to scrap Heathers, which featured a school shooting and other controversial plotlines. Nobodies ultimately fizzled in its move to Paramount Network and was canceled. The cabler also opted against moving forward with MTV-turned-Spike drama The Shannara Chronicles and Spike's The Mist. Its scripted roster now includes already renewed the Western drama Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, and the comedies First Wives Club, starring Michelle Buteau and Jill Scott; Younger, Emily in Paris; and American Woman. The latter series, from exec producer John Wells (Shameless), is awaiting word on its future.
Star is repped by UTA, Kapital Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham.