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Fox’s 2021-22 scripted lineup continues to take shape.
Hours after the network ordered The Cleaning Lady, the Charlie Collier-led broadcaster handed out a series pickup to Monarch, a country music drama that has been in the works since September 2019.
Created by relative newcomer Melissa London Hilfers and showrun by Michael Rauch (Royal Pains, Instinct), Monarch is also Fox’s first fully owned live-action scripted original series that is fully owned by the independent network.
Monarch is described as a Texas-sized, multigenerational musical drama about America’s first family of country music. The Romans are fiercely talented, but while their name is synonymous with honesty, the very foundation of their success is a lie. When their reign as country royalty is put in jeopardy, Nicky Roman, the heir to the crown, already battling an industry stacked against her, will stop at nothing to protect her family’s legacy.
The series, written by Hilfers, will feature original music and covers. The production counts Jason Owen, one of music’s top managers, among its exec producers. He is expected to bring his wealth of knowledge and relationships to make a mark on the series as his client roster includes such artists as Kacey Musgraves, Faith Hill, Little Big Town and the estates of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Sources say some of Owen’s clients are expected to appear and/or perform on the series, which will begin casting immediately.
When Fox picked up the script nearly two years ago, the drama was poised to be a co-production between the network and its former in-house Gail Berman-led SideCar content development accelerator. SideCar was disbanded last summer, with Berman returning to run her production company, The Jackal Group. (SideCar and Jackal operated independently of one another.) Berman continues to exec produce the series alongside Jackal’s Hend Baghdady as well as Owen via his Sandbox Entertainment.
Monarch joins Our Kind of People as bypassing the traditional pilot process and scoring a straight to series order at Fox for the 2021-22 broadcast season as the network, like others, continues to focus on year-round development. Both shows, which went from development to writers’ room before being picked up to series, had been in the works for years.
All told, Monarch is Fox’s fifth series order for the 2021-22 broadcast season. It joins The Cleaning Lady, Scott Foley drama The Big Leap, the Lee Daniels-produced Our Kind of People and Paul Feig mockumentary This Country. The network, which recently bailed on Thursday Night Football (which heads to Amazon in 2022), also has an untitled animated comedy from Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon (which it also fully owns) due in 2022 and an update of Fantasy Island set for August.
As for Fox’s remaining pilot slate, fellow 2020 holdovers Blood Relative, the untitled Goonies re-enactment project (which was never cast) and comedy Pivoting remain in contention. Fox is expected to make decisions on its remaining slate pilots in the coming days, with a potential comedy series order expected.
Fox has yet to renew any of its live-action scripted originals for next season. Instead, it’s made early decisions on its animated slate with renewals for Bob’s Burgers, Duncanville, Family Guy, The Great North and staple The Simpsons. That leaves 911 and its spinoff, Prodigal Son, The Resident and multicam comedy Call Me Kat on the bubble, with animated comedy Housebroken due in May.
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