New ABC Family president Michael Riley is making his first new series pickups today, ordering 3 new shows, the Raven Symone comedy The Great State of Georgia and 2 dramas, The Nine Lives of Chloe King and Switched at Birth. The orders to all 3 are for 10 episodes, including the pilot.
The Great State of Georgia, from ABC Studios, centers on Georgia (Raven Symone), an exuberant curvy performer from the south, and her science geek best friend Jo (Majandra Delfino) who try to make headway in New York City. The pilot was written by author Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes) and Jeff Greenstein (Desperate Housewives). This marks the return to sitcoms for Symone, who made her debut in the genre at age 2 on The Cosby Show. It also brings a companion piece to ABC Family’s hot original sitcom Melissa & Joey.
Nine Lives is based on Alloy’s Nine Lives of Chloe King series of 3 young-adult novels by Celia Thomson. Alloy Entertainment is producing the pilot, about Chloe King (Skyler Samuels), a teenager with heightened abilities (super speed, agility, hearing…claws) who discovers she’s being pursued by a mysterious figure. Dan Berendsen (Hannah Montana: The Movie) penned the script and is executive producing with Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. This marks the second Alloy series on ABC Family along with hit Pretty Little Liars, which was recently renewed for s second season. Alloy had two hourlong pilots in the running, Nine Lives and The Lying Game. I hear that, while not picked up at this time, The Lying Game remains in contention, with ABC Family and Alloy looking at budget and other issues to make a series order possible.
Switched at Birth, written and executive produced by Lizzy Weiss (Blue Crush), is a one-hour drama about two teen girls who discover that they were accidentally switched at birth. Bay Kennish grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and two brothers, while Daphne Vasquez, who lost her hearing as a child due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.
In its most aggressive development cycle to date, ABC Family last fall ordered 6 pilots, one comedy, Georgia, and 5 dramas. Surprisingly, among those not going to series is the drama pilot from Brenda Hampton, creator-executive producer of ABC Family’s flagship series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.