Marc Cherry‘s pilot Devious Maids is going to series at Lifetime. The cable network has handed a 13-episode order to the ABC Studios-produced project, originally developed for ABC where it received a pilot order this past season but missed the cut to series. Devious Maids is slated to launch on Lifetime in 2013. “This show and Marc Cherry’s unique story telling voice perfectly articulate Lifetime’s strategy of attracting top-tier creatives with their most original and exciting projects,” Lifetime’s president Nancy Dubuc and EVP Rob Sharenow said in a joint statement.
Based on the hit Mexican telenovela Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, Devious Maids follows the lives of five maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. It stars Ana Ortiz, Judy Reyes, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez as well as Susan Lucci, Edy Ganem, Grant Show, Brianna Brown, Rebecca Wisocky, Tom Irwin, Mariana Klaveno, Brett Cullen and Drew Van Acker. I hear the pilot will undergo some tweaking and reshoots in its move to Lifetime. One of the regular roles, played in the pilot by Angelique Cabral, will likely be eliminated. Production on the series will be based in Atlanta, which provides tax intensives vs. Los Angeles where the pilot was shot.
Lifetime began exploring the possibility of a Devious Maids pickup right after ABC passed on the pilot in May. The cable network and producer ABC Studios, which have a longstanding relationship via Lifetime’s flagship drama Army Wives, which is produced by ABC Studios, spent the last month trying to make the series, developed and budgeted for broadcast, viable economically on cable. I hear that included asking some actors to take pay cuts and reworking their deals to cable residuals terms and moving production to Georgia, among other things. “Devious Maids is a perfect series for ABC Studios to continue its successful collaboration with the incredibly talented team at Lifetime,” said Barry Jossen, ABC Studios’ EVP of Creative and Production.
Devious Maids will be executive produced by Cherry, who wrote the adaptation, his producing partner Sabrina Wind, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, Paul McGuigan (Scandal), Larry Shuman (Kissing Miranda), David Lonner, John Mass, Paul Presburger and Michael Garcia. At Lifetime, Devious Maids will join Army Wives and fellow scripted series The Client List and Drop Dead Diva. The pickup restores Cherry’s presence on Lifetime, which was the off-network home of his recently departed Desperate Housewives. It also provides a happy-ish ending for actress Mariana Klaveno who was recently cast as Lily Munster in the NBC pilot Mockingbird Lane but couldn’t do it because Devious Maids, where she plays a supporting role, wouldn’t release her.
It has been an active broadcast-cable transfer season. In addition to Devious Maids, ABC Studios also found a new home for its ABC comedy series Cougar Town at TBS. And USA Network is exploring picking up Fox’s comedy pilot Rebounding.