E! is getting into the scripted game. The NBCUniversal owned and operated cable channel has handed a series order to drama project The Royals, which hails from Lionsgate Television, One Tree Hill‘s Mark Schwahn & executive producers Brian Robbins and Joe Davola. The series is set to enter production later this year on location in London, with E! eyeing a 2015 premiere.
Written and directed by Schwahn, The Royals is set in modern day London and follows a fictional Royal Family. The drama series pits public perception of the royal family against the reality of life inside the castle walls, from the lavish parties and high stakes political summits, to the private family gatherings and secret romances. However being born into this elite circle comes at a cost and the Royals’ lives are played out on a world stage where press is 24/7 and social media drives an insatiable appetite to follow their every move. The Royals is produced by Lionsgate Television and stars Elizabeth Hurley, Vincent Regan, William Moseley, Alexandra Park, Tom Austen, Jake Maskall, Ukweli Roach and Oliver Milburn.
With the pick up, The Royals becomes E!’s first original scripted series. The network, best known for its reality output, has been looking to get into the scripted game for some time, since 2012, when Bonnie Hammer assumed responsibility for most of NBCU’s cable networks (she has since taken control of all of the company’s cable nets). Sister network Bravo has also been attempting to get in the scripted game and, similarly, just recently picked up their first original scripted series: Marti Noxon’s Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce.
“We are excited that E!’s first original scripted series will transport viewers into a world that they are already intensely interested in, but reality cameras would never give them access to. The Royals will offer a fictional look behind the very public gilded façade of the palace gates to imagine the private, lush, fun, sexy world of the most-watched celebrity family on the planet,” said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President of Original Programming & Development. “It’s a perfect series to introduce E! viewers to scripted pop culture programming on the network.”
While Kevin Plunkett, Senior Vive-President of Scripted Programming for E!, added: “This is a big idea and Mark, Brian, Joe and the Lionsgate team delivered. They have an extraordinary track record at crafting buzz worthy content that reflects and drives the pop culture discussion. This team, working on this concept, with this cast is a great way for us to launch our first scripted show.”