18 items from 2015
First rule of The Astronaut Wives Club: Don’t talk about the crushing fear and loneliness you know as the spouse of one of America’s first space cowboys.
Second rule of The Astronaut Wives Club: When in doubt, don pearls and a little lipstick.
ABC’s 10-episode period drama, which premiered Thursday (8/7c), centers on the spouses of the Mercury Program astronauts and their part in the late ’50s/early ’60s scramble to put a man in space. Written by Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl) and based on the book by Lily Koppel, the premiere focuses on the proper-to-a-fault, »
Too little too late, but ABC has finally found the perfect companion piece for "Pan Am." A bright-and-glossy dose of '60s nostalgia mixed with easily digestible proto-feminism, ABC's "Astronaut Wives Club" premieres on Thursday (June 18) night, more than three years after "Pan Am" was cancelled and I suspect they're likely to be remembered in the same way: Period dramas with high production values, a fantastic cast that ABC will look back at yearningly and unrealized creative potential obscuring otherwise solid storytelling. Is there a hypothetical TV series about the wives of the Mercury astronauts that's more than a slightly superficial, slightly choppy and slightly misfocused showcase for fine performances and some snazzy retro-style? Absolutely, but there's still some virtue to this sort of watchable, somewhat nourishing summer entertainment, even in a landscape that's overflowing with summer viewing options. Thursday's exposition-heavy premiere episode begins in 1961 with Louise Shepard (Dominique McElligott »
- Daniel Fienberg
One giant leap for womankind! We're already over the moon for The Astronaut Wives Club, a period show about women in the early 1960s whose husbands boldly go where no men have gone before. The Stephanie Savage-produced ABC drama follows a band of unlikely friends who come together when their men are recruited by Nasa. Believe Us: There's just as much drama as there is killer fashion, and it's all thanks to headstrong characters such as tomboy Trudy Cooper (Odette Annable) and leader of the gang Louise [...] »
It’s easy to dismiss ABC’s “The Astronaut Wives Club” as just another sudser, but the limited series based on Lily Koppel’s chronicles of the Mercury Seven astronauts’ wives has more lurking in its atmosphere. Ahead of its premiere, creator Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “Hart of Dixie,” “The O.C.”) talks to Variety about how her show differs from the similarly set “Mad Men,” how it’s made her grow beyond her teen-skewing roots and how a race to put the series on the air last year would have resulted in a crash and burn.
“The Astronaut Wives Club” premieres at 8 p.m. June 18 on ABC.
Why did you decide to do a period story?
I love the period [of the 1960s]. I’m thrilled that I’m able to tell a story set in that time period for a broadcast network. Just for myself personally, I love the fashion and the music and the design. »
- Whitney Friedlander
What makes a great summer series? Something flashy, breezy, easy to Dv-r and binge at a later date, perhaps. Beach reading, but on your TV. In fact, it really deserves a separate scale. The epitome of a great summer show may be Fox’s The O.C., which ran in the mid-aughts, and came (in part) from Stephanie Savage. Savage also has developed ABC’s new drama The Astronaut Wives Club, and with it, another well-suited summer show (though one that's still looking to ignite). The series, based on a book by Lily Koppel, details the home lives of the Mercury 7, a true-to-life group of men (including John Glenn, played here by Sam Reid) who were chosen by Nasa for their fledgling space program in the early 1960s. The families were also heavily managed for appearances, with deals made with press outlets like Life magazine to convince the American public that »
- Allison Keene
More than 30 years after “The Right Stuff,” Philip Kaufman’s 1983 movie based on Tom Wolfe’s tome devoted to the Mercury 7 space program, “The Astronaut Wives Club” seems like inordinately fertile material for a primetime soap. Essentially a slow-motion version of the film, the main wrinkle in the ABC series — culled from Lily Koppel’s book — is viewing the story from the perspective of the women behind the men, who instantly became celebrities, with all the distractions that entails. While it’s not clear how long the producers can keep the concept aloft, the opening episodes certainly make for a splashy entry.
Written by Stephanie Savage and directed by Lone Scherfig, the premiere opens with the shrewd framing device of Alan Shepherd’s 1961 space flight, flashing back two years to when the program began. As part of a scheme envisioned by what amounts to Nasa’s perpetually apoplectic PR guru »
- Brian Lowry
From its setting to its writing to its network, much has been made of how “Mad Men” revolutionized television. As the show prepares for its final pitch meeting, Variety looks at 10 other shows that might have been harder sells if it weren’t for creator Matthew Weiner’s epic story of the professional lives and private pursuits of Madison Avenue’s best and brightest.
Creator Michelle Ashford’s series about sex research pioneers William Masters and Virginia Johnson is one of the most successful period dramas to come out of the “Mad Men” boom, resulting in Emmy recognition for actors like Lizzy Caplan and Alison Janney and articles calling it the “feminist ‘Mad Men.’”
Like Matt Weiner, Vince Gilligan was turned down by multiple networks when he pitched “Breaking Bad.” “Mad Men” premiered several months before “Breaking Bad,” making audiences (somewhat) aware of AMC’s »
- Whitney Friedlander
The Astronaut Wives Club is keeping its eye on the sky. The Hollywood Reporter's exclusive look at the ABC drama's key art shows the club, including JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Yvonne Strahovski, Dominique McElligott, Odette Annable, Erin Cummings, Azure Parsons and Zoe Boyle, dressed in their best period garb as they look up above with a mix of fear, pride and uncertainty. Read More Stephanie Savage's 'Astronaut Wives Club' Gets Series Order at ABC Inspired by Lily Koppel's best-selling book of the same name, the series tells the true story of the women who stood beside some of American history's
- Kate Stanhope
“Astronaut Wives Club” is finally ready to blast off at ABC, with the network announcing on Monday a summer premiere date for the new drama.
Originally scheduled to bow last summer and then pushed to spring for retooling and some cast changes, “Astronaut Wives Club” will air Thursdays at 8 p.m. starting June 18. That launch date will allow the network to promote the series during coverage of the NBA Finals, which will occupy Thursdays earlier in the month.
ABC had announced its summer schedule earlier this month, but there was no mention of “Astronaut Wives Club” at that time.
Based on the book by Lily Koppel, “Astronaut Wives Club” focuses on seven women who were key players behind some of the biggest events in American history. As America’s astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, the lives of their young wives were transformed, seemingly overnight, from military spouses to American royalty. »
- Rick Kissell
ABC has set a June 18 premiere date for “The Astronaut Wives Club,” a series long in the works from “Gossip Girl” executive producer Josh Schwartz and writer/Ep Stephanie Savage. Originally slated for summer 2014, the drama about seven women married to astronauts in the early days of space exploration was reworked for midseason this year before sliding to its current summer ’15 premiere. Part of the retooling expanded the focus of the 10-episode series from one to three groundbreaking Nasa missions: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. “The Astronaut Wives Club” stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher as Betty Grissom; Yvonne Strahovski as Rene Carpenter »
- L.A. Ross
The “Broad Squad” is growing.
Ambrose will star as Eileen, one of the first four women to graduate from Boston’s Police Academy in 1978. The rookie cop struggles with balancing her new career with her roles at home as a wife to a wounded police officer and a mom to a young son.
The drama, inspired by true stories, also stars Charlotte Spencer and Cody Horn (“The Office”) as the two other female leads, as well as Michael Gaston (“The Mentalist”), Kenneth Mitchell (“Jericho”) and Alberto Frezza.
- Maane Khatchatourian
RelatedPilot Season ’15: Scoop on This Fall’s (Possible) New Shows, Who’s In Them
Ambrose — who this Thursday made her debut on USA Network’s Dig event series — will play Eileen, our sister site Deadline reports, alongside Rutina Wesley (True Blood), Charlotte Spencer (the UK’s Glue miniseries) and Cody Horn (Rescue Me, »
Rutina Wesley is trading in her fangs for a badge this pilot season.
RelatedPilot Season ’15: Scoop on This Fall’s (Possible) New Shows, Who’s In Them
The former True Blood star, who’s also set to recur in Hannibal‘s upcoming third season, has joined the cast of ABC’s Broad Squad, a 1978-set drama pilot about Boston’s first female patrol officers. Wesley will play Joanne, one of the four central female cops.
New Line has not set up the project with a producer. Forman will executive produce. New Line’s Andrea Johnston is overseeing.
“I Was Here,” published a month ago by Viking, centers on an 18-year-old dealing with her best friend committing suicide without warning. She discovers many secrets after traveling to her friend’s college town to pack up the belongings.
Universal picked up rights to Forman’s romancer “Just One Day” and sequel “Just One Year” in November. The studio plans to make a single feature with Fake Empire’s Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage producing. »
- Dave McNary
ABC has picked up the pilot “Flesh and Blood” from Writers Guild of America-nominated screenwriter Jenna Bans. The pilot explores the shockwaves that ripple through a family and community when a son thought dead for more than 10 years suddenly returns.
The son of a local politician, the young man’s return not only rattles his tight-knit family to its core, it prompts the release of the neighbor imprisoned for his murder, while the cop responsible is forced to reexamine what truly happened all those years ago.
- Jason Hughes
“The Catch” from Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers follows a female forensic accountant whose career specialty is exposing fraud for a living. Much like the leading ladies of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” the sure-to-be fierce woman at the forefront of the crime thriller is not all she appears to be and has a tumultuous love life. She’s about to get married, but also about to get conned by her fiancé — little does he know, her lies end up colliding with his cons.
The pilot will be exec produced by Rhimes, Beers, Julie Anne Robinson and Jennifer Schuur, and co-produced by Helen Gregory and Kate Atkinson. Robinson is set to direct, and Schuur will pen the pilot. »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
“Scandal” boss will produce offering about a female forensic accountant who exposes fraud
Shonda Rhimes has landed yet another project with ABC.
Rhimes, the mind behind numerous ABC hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” has sold another pilot to the network.
Also Read: TV’s New and Returning Show Premieres: ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Htgawm,’ ‘Blacklist’
“The Catch,” which is being executive produced by Rhimes’ Shondaland, centers on a gutsy female forensic accountant who exposes fraud for a living and has finally found fulfillment both at work and in love until a case comes along that threatens to turn her world upside down. »
- Tim Kenneally
Can a fourth hour be added to #Tgit…?
Penned by Jennifer Schuur (Hannibal, Hostages), The Catch is a thriller about a woman about to get married and about to get conned. Unbeknownst to her slippery fiancé, our heroine — who investigates fraud for a living — is not all she claims to be. And when the fiancé’s expertly planned con collides with her perfectly constructed lies, they plunge into a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
ABC also ordered »
18 items from 2015
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