EXCLUSIVE: A ’90s pop culture staple is eyeing a comeback. An hourlong Clueless TV series, based on the hit 1995 feature, is in the works at CBS TV Studios. I hear the project, a new, dramatic take on the high school comedy centered on the Dionne character played by Stacey Dash in the movie and the 1996 series adaptation, has been taken out, drawing strong interest from multiple streamers as well as the CW.
Written by Jordan Reddout and Gus Hickey (Will & Grace), the new Clueless — Mean Girls meets Riverdale meets a Lizzo music video — also is set in high school. It is described as a baby pink and bisexual blue-tinted, tiny sunglasses-wearing, oat milk latté and Adderall-fueled look at what happens when the high school queen bee Cher disappears and her lifelong No. 2 Dionne steps into Cher’s vacant Air Jordans. How does Dionne deal with the pressures of being the new most popular girl in school, while also unraveling the mystery of what happened to her best friend, all in a setting that is uniquely 2020 L.A.?
Executive producing the new Clueless are American Gothic and No Tomorrow creator Corinne Brinkerhoff and her development executive Tiffany Grant via Brinkerhoff’s overall deal at CBS TV Studios, as well as Robert Lawrence, who was a producer on the Clueless movie.
CBS TV Studios has the TV rights to the 1995 Paramount feature written and directed by Amy Heckerling, which starred Alicia Silverstone as Cher, Dash as Dionne as well as Brittany Murphy and Paul Rudd. CBS TV Studios’ predecessor, Paramount Network Television, was behind the 1996 half-hour comedy series Clueless, created by Heckerling, which ran for three seasons, one on ABC and two on UPN.
The Clueless TV series, which followed the movie’s premise of chronicling the adventures of Cher Horowitz, a California girl who attends Bronson Alcott High, starred Rachel Blanchard as Cher since Silverstone was not available, with Dash reprising her role as Dionne.
CBS TV Studios is one of the CW’s main suppliers, and it also has rapidly expanded its streaming portfolio. In addition to its expansive CBS All Access slate, led by the Star Trek franchise, the studio currently has three hit series on Netflix: Insatiable, whose second season debuted Friday; breakout dark comedy Dead to Me, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, which was renewed for a second season weeks after its May 3 debut; and limited series Unbelievable, which was touted by Netflix in its Q3 earnings report Wednesday for being viewed by 32 million households in its first four weeks on the platform. Coming up is the premiere of Diary of a Female President on Disney+.
Reddout and Hickey had one-hour dark comedy No Hard Feelings, in development at the CW last season. In addition to the Will & Grace revival on NBC, other credits include Grown-ish, Man With a Plan and The Muppets.