The CW is returning to the primetime soap arena in a big way, taking a shot at rebooting one of the iconic series in the genre, the Aaron Spelling-produced Dynasty. The network has put in development the high-profile project, which hails from the duo behind one of the CW’s biggest soaps, Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, in their return to the network.
They have teamed with Revenge writer-producer Sallie Patrick and the original series’ creators, husband-and-wife duo Esther Shapiro & Richard Shapiro, for a new modern-day reboot of the classic series. CBS TV Studios is the studio.
Co-written by Schwartz & Savage and Patrick, the new Dynasty follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they feud for control over their fortune and their children. The series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington, and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal, a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class.
This is a new spin on the premise of the original series, which focused on oil tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), whose daughter Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin) resents Blake’s much younger former secretary Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans), to whom he is about to get married. Cristal will be a version of the Krystle character in the CW version, giving it a more diverse feel.
Schwartz and Savage will executive produce though their Fake Empire banner alongside Patrick and the Shapiros. Patrick will serve as showrunner if the project moves forward. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski is as co-executive producer.
Schwartz and Savage sat with Esther & Richard Shapiro and CBS TV Studios this past summer about possibly rebooting Dynasty. Schwartz and Savage reached out to Patrick, whom they had been fans of. WME, which reps all three, helped put together the deal, which took a couple of months to complete.
The original series aired on ABC from 1981-89. It had an inauspicious start the first season before taking off as a ratings and pop culture phenom when Joan Collins joined the cast in a Season 2 revamp as the scheming Alexis. It is unclear whether a version of the character will appear on the CW reboot, but that would seem logical.
This is one of the CW’s biggest pieces of development for next season, along with The Lost Boys adaptation from Rob Thomas and Warner Bros. TV.
The CW and predecessor the WB Network have a long tradition in young soapy dramas. The network had gradually pulled out of the genre with shows like Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries and Hart of Dixie coming to an end as it ramped up more male-skewing superhero/genre programming over the past few years, but bringing back female soaps had been a goal for the CW brass.
TNT recently rebooted another iconic 1980s primetime soap, Dallas, with a sequel series, which ran for three seasons.
Schwartz and Savage, who recently became available to other studios after wrapping their overall deal at ABC Studios, have the Marvel’s Runaways series at Hulu, which they wrote, executive produce and serve as showrunners on.