EXCLUSIVE: Big-swing dramas are those that have worked lately — from AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s Game Of Thrones to ABC’s Once Upon A Time and NBC’s Revolution. The CW is taking a step in that direction with Reign, from writers/executive producers Laurie McCarthy (CSI: Miami) and Stephanie SenGupta (Outlaw). The project, which was sold directly to the CW and laid off at CBS TV Studios, is a fantastical reimagining of the teenage Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary was 6 days old when she succeeded her father, King James V of Scotland, to the throne. Her mother, Mary of Guise, was French, and Mary spent most of her childhood and teen years in France while Scotland was ruled by regents. She was 16 when she married Francis, Dauphin of France, who became King of France the next year but died a year later, leaving Mary a widow at age 18. The CW’s project is described as Game Of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette — if Marie Antoinette had a girl posse and was coming of age as a warrior queen. It’s about the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue. In addition to Reign, the CW has another drama in the works that is set in a kingdom, the Hunger Games-esque The Selection, which is awaiting a new script.
This is the first joint project for McCarthy and SenGupta, who have been good friends since they met working on CBS’ The Ghost Whisperer. McCarthy, repped by UTA and attorney Wendy Kirk, was most recently a consulting producer on ABC’s Good Christian Belles. She previously created and executive produced the summer NBC series Windfall. SenGupta, repped by UTA and Michael Gendler, is a co-executive producer on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, also produced by CBS Studios. She came out of the Law & Order camp, having worked on both the mothership series and on spinoff Criminal Intent.