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The CW is looking to proven producers and IP for its first pilot orders of the 2017-18 season.
The network on Friday handed out official orders to its Dynasty reboot from The O.C. and Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, as well as to the drama Searchers from prolific producer Greg Berlanti and The 100 creator Jason Rothenberg.
Dynasty is based on the primetime soap of the same name that aired for nine seasons on ABC and was created by Richard and Esther Shapiro and executive produced by Aaron Spelling. Both the Shapiros are attached to the CW reboot, which is being penned by Sallie Patrick (Limitless, Revenge), Schwartz and Savage. All three will executive produce. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski will co-exec produce. The project hails from CBS Television Studios and Schwartz and Savage’s Fake Empire (The O.C., Gossip Girl).
Here’s the logline: “The Rolls Royce of all primetime soaps returns in a modernized reboot that follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they feud for control over their fortune and their children. The series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington — daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington — and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal — a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class. In an age where dynasties appear everywhere — from reality TV to the polling booths — this epic drama features the one percent in all its glitz and gloss, while exposing the dark underbelly: a corrupt world built on backroom deals, betrayal, and, in some cases, murder.”
Airing from 1981-89, Dynasty was one of TV’s most successful primetime soap operas. The ABC drama, a direct response to CBS’ hit Dallas, became one of mega-producer Spelling’s biggest contributions during the ‘80s. Set in Denver and following a group of one-percenters (the Carrington family), Dynasty was the No. 1 show in America in 1985. The cast included, most notably, John Forsythe, Linda Evans and Joan Collins.
The revival comes five years after Collins said Esther Shapiro had been prepping a revival of the series that ultimately did not come to pass. The cast most recently reunited in 2015 for a Hallmark one-off in which they shared memories and more. ABC attempted to create a spinoff, The Colbys, with Spelling and the Shapiros attached, but the series lasted only two years, running from 1985-87.
This is not the first primetime soap of yesteryear to get a reboot of late. TNT resurrected Dallas in 2012, with much of the original cast, to initial ratings success. But interest in the show quickly lagged and the death of star Larry Hagman, the center of both the 1978 original and the remake, prompted the network to pull the plug after just three seasons.
Dynasty becomes the latest high-profile reboot in the works this season and joins NBC’s Will and Grace revival. Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is quickly approaching 500 original series. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity — which Dynasty clearly does — as more studios look to monetize their existing film libraries. In the works this development season are reboots of Car Wash (ABC), Sneakers (NBC), Enemy of the State (ABC), War of the Worlds (MTV), Magnum P.I. (ABC), The Lost Boys and Charmed (CW), Varsity Blues (CMT), The Departed (Amazon), Let the Right One In (TNT) and L.A. Law, among others.
Searchers, meanwhile, which had been a frontrunner for an official pickup, follows a group of unlikely heroes and takes place 10 years after the death of their parents, when a pragmatic brother and free-spirited sister are forced to team when they learn that their mother’s terrifying and bizarre stories may be a road map to discovering the legends, myths and unexplainable mysteries of the world. Rothenberg will pen the script and executive produce alongside Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti and his Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter. This marks Berlanti’s third pilot order of the season, joining ABC comedy Raised by Wolves and drama Deception. Berlanti currently exec produces a large chunk of The CW’s schedule, including DC Comics’ Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow as well as Archie Comics’ Riverdale.
Last year, The CW picked up six pilots and went to series on three (Frequency and No Tomorrow — neither of which scored back-nine orders — as well as midseason entry Riverdale). The network will likely see pilot pickups on par with last year’s orders as more are expected to come this season.
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