UPDATED: Now this is a back order we rarely see — ABC Family is picking up 20 additional episodes of freshman comedy Melissa & Joey, bringing the show’s freshman season to a whopping 30 episodes. Who will claim now that cable creators have it easy with smaller orders than their broadcast counterparts? Additionally, ABC Family greenlighted 4 pilots, an untitled project from The Secret Life of the American Teenager creator Brenda Hampton, The Great State of Georgia, What Would Jane Do and The Lying Game. They joined the 3 pilots ordered last week by the cable network, Strut, Nine Lives and Switched at Birth, in what is shaping up as one of the largest pilot slates for a cable network. The pickup for Melissa & Joey is no surprise and had been in the works for awhile. ABC Family brass have been happy with the freshman comedy starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence despite it falling off its big debut. Melissa & Joey premiered in June as ABC Family’s biggest ever series debut among adults 18-49, 1.3 million. In total viewers, it drew 2.2 million viewers, the most watched comedy series debut ever for the cable network. Melissa & Joey was one of 3 new series ABC Family launched this summer. Drama Pretty Little Liars has already been given a back 12-episode order for a 22-episode season, while Huge was recently cancelled.
Here are descriptions of the 4 projects which received official pilot orders by ABC Family:
Untitled Brenda Hampton Project, a one-hour scripted drama to be executive produced by Brenda Hampton, is a heartfelt look at the lives and families of four ethnically-diverse teenage girls at a private school in California. The pilot follows the girls and the challenges they face at home — challenges that include a parent with terminal cancer, a brother with a behavioral disorder, and a father who parents with an unwaveringly strict hand.
“The Great State of Georgia” is an ABC Studios’ half-hour, multi-cam comedy series about an exuberant plus-sized performer from the south and her science geek best friend who try to make headway in New York City. Pilot writers are Jennifer Weiner (author of the best-selling novels Good in Bed, and In Her Shoes and Jeff Greenstein (“Desperate Housewives”)
“What Would Jane Do” a one-hour scripted drama, follows 16year-old Jane, who lands a job at a hip retail company when they mistake her for an adult. Jane soon finds herself juggling life as a regular teenager in high school and as an assistant to a high powered executive in the cutthroat world of fashion…all while trying to keep her true identity a secret. Executive producer is Gavin Polone (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”); writer is April Blair (“Lemonade Mouth”).
“The Lying Game,” a one-hour scripted drama which follows Emma, a kind-hearted foster kid who can’t catch a break. She finds out she has an identical twin sister, Sutton, who – unlike Emma – was adopted by wealthy parents and is seemingly living an ideal life. After their initial meeting, Sutton talks Emma into stepping into her life for a few days while she pursues a lead on their birth mother. Initially excited to do this favor for her sister, Emma soon learns that Sutton has gone missing and could be in trouble. Now, Emma must decide whether to come clean to Sutton’s family and risk her own safety in the hope of uncovering her twin sister’s true whereabouts, along with the truth about why they were separated in the first place. Charles Pratt, Jr. (“Ugly Betty”) serves as executive producer and writer; Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo will serve as executive producers. Produced by Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, the series is based on the upcoming novel by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard.