The project, from Sony TV’s TriStar Television, is a fictionalized family soap inspired by Robert Lacey’s book, Model Woman: Eileen Ford and the Business of Beauty, the recently published biography of the outspoken and controversial woman who started as a model and went on to co-found the famous Ford Modeling Agency with her husband Jerry.
Written by Reality Bites scribe Helen Childress, the show is set in the late 1970’s during the notorious Model Wars and centers on Bertie Geiss – a tempestuous matriarch and uncompromising businesswoman at the helm of an internationally renowned modeling agency. Anonymous Content’s Rosalie Swedlin serves as executive producer alongside Childress and Lacey’s daughter Scarlett.
This marks the first broadcast pilot for TriStar TV, which was relaunched last summer. Lacey’s book was originally optioned by Sony TV a year ago with a different writer, KJ Steinberg. I hear ABC earlier this development season pursued the project, and Childress was brought in on board to pen it.
Ford’s keen eye for talent and her shrewd entrepreneurial instincts turned the business of modeling into one of the most glamorous and desired professions, and turned many of her stable of beauties — Suzy Parker, Lauren Hutton, Rene Russo, Christie Brinkley, Jerry Hall, Naomi Campbell — into millionaire superstars. Many of these women also became part of the Ford family household as Eileen took them into her New York brownstone when they were still teens and nurtured them alongside her own four children.
TriStar TV’s first pilot, another female-centered period drama, Good Girls Revolt, went to series at Amazon. The company has two other pilots at the streaming service, The Last Tycoon starring Matt Bomer and The Interestings.
Childress is repped by Original Artists and Bob Getman.