John Wells, Whitney Cummings
E! is venturing into scripted programming, developing drama projects from John Wells, Kevin Spacey and Phillip Noyce. Additionally, the network has picked up a talent series from Nigel Lythgoe and a talk show with Whitney Cummings.
In keeping with the network's brand, the scripted development slate features twists on pop culture. "Our strategy is centered on telling compelling stories that reflect pop culture relevancy in unique and irreverent ways, and these scripted series will complement E!'s already diverse mix of reality, topical, news and comedy franchises," Lisa Berger, E!'s president of entertainment programming," said in a statement. "The response from the creative community has been incredibly positive and we are excited to be in business with such high-caliber writers, producers and directors."
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Among the titles are Wells' Anne of Boleyn, which tells the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII reset in present-day Hollywood; Spacey's Upstarts is about Silicon Valley's digital gold rush in the late 1990s; and Fascination Street, from Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, Salt), is a time-jumping project about two brothers investigating the disappearance of their band's lead singer.
Other projects include Dorothy, a contemporary take on The Wizard of Oz; The 400 from Emily Whitesell (Brothers & Sisters) about the Vanderbilt dynasty; King David, a modern-day Mr. Smith; legal drama Juror #9; the procedural Amy Devlin Mysteries based on the graphic novel of the same name; and an untitled project from Gary A. Randall (Saving Grace) about power-hungry executive assistants.
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On the unscripted front, Lythgoe will executive-produce Opening Act, a talent show that gives Internet performers a chance to open for a music star, including Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz, and Gym Class Heroes.
Cummings' new half-hour talk show, Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, will be paired with The Soup on Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c later this year. Produced by Chelsea Handler's Borderline Amazing Productions, the show will feature Cummings riffing on celebrities and pop culture.
As previously reported, eldest Jonas Brother Kevin Jonas will also headline a new reality series with his wife, Danielle, called Married to Jonas. The 10-episode series will premiere Sunday, Aug. 19 at 10/9c.