The network on Wednesday picked up 10 episodes of the drama and scheduled it for summer, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Astronaut Wives Club hails from Fake Empire’s Savage, who will pen the script and executive produce the ABC Studios vehicle via the banner she runs with Josh Schwartz. Fake Empire president of TV Len Goldstein and Schwartz will executive produce alongside Michael London‘s Groundswell.
The 1960s-set drama tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. The drama marks the first pilot Savage has written since she co-created The CW’s long-running Gossip Girl with Schwartz. The project is based on Lily Koppel‘s best-selling novel published last summer. Janice Williams brought the project to Groundswell.
The drama was one of several sales for Fake Empire this past season and its first pilot order of the season via the banner’s new three-year overall deal with ABC Studios. Astronaut Wives Club marked the first project to move to pilot under the pact after the duo jumped from Warner Bros. Television to ABC Studios in January 2013.
Fake Empire could have three series on the air next season should The CW renew bubble dramas The Carrie Diaries and Hart of Dixie.
Astronaut Wives Club becomes ABC’s third drama this season to get a straight-to-series order. It joins Ryan Phillippe drama Secrets & Lies and an untitled hour from David O. Russell, though it’s unclear if either of those two shows will be earmarked for summer.
The Savage project comes as broadcast networks are increasingly upping their game in the typically low-rated summer viewing months. Last summer, CBS scored a major hit with Under the Dome, and the network has already picked up Halle Berry drama Extant as it schedules high-profile scripted series along with its reality offerings.
Astronaut Wives Club also arrives as ABC found moderate success with scripted drama Mistresses last summer. That series will return for a second season in summer 2014.
The broadcast networks’ push to increase originals in the summer and shift toward a year-round programming format comes as they face increased competition from cable networks and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. Last summer, networks looked at three different ways to program in the summer: pricey dramas like Under the Dome, low-budget fare like Mistresses, and foreign co-productions like NBC’s now-canceled Camp.
Casting is underway for Astronaut Wives Club, with a specific premiere date yet to be determined. The straight-to-series pickup will also likely help ABC lure top talent in an increasingly competitive pilot season.