E! will jump into the scripted series arena next year with the debut of The Royals, part of an ambitious slate of new original series, specials and live original programming the network will unveil later today during its 2014-15 upfront presentation in New York.
E! will team with Lionsgate to produce The Royals, a one-hour drama about a fictional British Royal family set in modern day London that will debut on the network in 2015, according to channel officials. Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill) will serve as executive producer of the series, which will feature and ensemble cast of actors such as Elizabeth Hurley, Vincent Regan, William Moseley, Alexandra Park, Tom Austen, Jake Maskall, Ukweli Roach and Oliver Milburn, said network officials.
The network also announced a second scripted series in development, Songbyrd, about a writer of hit love songs who can’t find love in her own life, as well as a miniseries Gucci, based on the upcoming book The Name of Gucci.
Other new original series include Escape Club, a one-hour series set to debut June 8 that gives a dozen twenty-somethings a chance to reboot their lives by placing them in an exclusive, exotic resort; and Botched, debuting in September, which showcases the risks and rewards of extreme plastic surgery.
On the specials front, E! this May will expand its popular Live From The Red Carpet franchise to the iHeart Radio Music Awards show. Other specials include Ryan Seacrest: Biggest Moments on the Radio (working title); Worst Thing I Ever a series of countdown specials looking at the worst ever celebrity choices; Secret Societies of Hollywood; Beyond Candid with Giuliana: Lisa Vanderpump; and Men of the Strip.
The new series will join returning E! series Total Divas, Eric & Jessie: Game On, Giuliana & Bill, Keeping Up with the Kardashians; #RichKids of Beverly Hills and Kourtney & Khloé Take The Hamptons, as well as “topical” franchises E! News, Fashion Police, The Soup, The Fabulist, Chelsea Lately, Hello Ross, and Live From E!.
“E! continues to deliver for the pop culture fan through buzzy original programming, unparalleled entertainment news, and innovative digital initiatives,” said Suzanne Kolb, president, E! Entertainment. “Across every platform, E! is more topical, trendsetting and up-to-the-minute than any other destination. With our slate of beloved franchises, the arrival of our first scripted series and a strong development slate, we're excited about the year ahead."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.