Alicia Silverstone says the upcoming Paramount Network dramedy American Woman depicts how “we all get stuck in our lives and you can kind of accept things that aren’t working for you, because there is enough good and it’s too scary to break through, whether a relationship or job or whatever it might be.”
Her character, Bonnie, has the “bravery to stand up and say you’re not going to do this anymore” and scratches her way out, Silverstone described Monday morning at TCA.
The half-hour 1970s dramedy is inspired by the real-life upbringing of co-executive producer Kyle Richards (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills); Silverstone depicts Richard’s mother.
In American Woman, 1970s women did not have bank accounts, and strong women were dismissed as pushy “broads.” They did, however, have incredible wardrobes.
Paramount says the series is set “amid the sexual revolution and the rise of second-wave feminism.” Bonnie is an “unconventional mother” struggling to raise her two daughters (Makenna James, Lia Ryan McHugh) after leaving her husband. She and her two best friends, Kathleen (Suvari) and Diana (Bartels), discover independence in a world, Paramount insists, that was reluctant to give it.
“So much has changed, but nothing really changed at all,” Richards said of women then and now. “What my mom was going through is still prevalent today.” Her perspective comes from Real Housewives, which she describes as a franchise populated by women trying to “do it all”: be a mom, be a wife and run a business.
The 12-episode order is written and executive produced by 30 Rock alum John Riggi and executive produced by John Wells.
American Woman is one of TV Land-developed series that were moved over to Paramount Network to be part of its inaugural slate, rising from the ashes of Spike. Launching on Thursday, it’s part of the big realignment of the Viacom cable networks announced by new CEO Bob Bakish last year, with the channels divided into flagship and reinforcing and a mandate for closer cooperation.
Asked how she felt about the project moving from TV Land to Paramount Net, Richards said, “I felt nothing but excitement [to be part of] the Paramount brand.”