The other queen: Elizabeth Hurley will play Queen Helena in E!’s first scripted show The Royals. — EPA
E! has greenlighted its first original scripted series, the network announced recently.
The series, The Royals, is an hour-long drama from One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn that is set in the present day and centres on a fictional British royal family. It will be headlined by model-actress Elizabeth Hurley as Queen Helena.
The intersection of public perception and reality seems to be what will stir the drama – with the aid of parties and political summits and many secrets.
“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,” E! executive vice-president for original programming and development Jeff Olde said in a statement.
“The Royals will offer a fictional look behind the very public gilded facade of the palace gates to imagine the private, lush, fun, sexy world of the most-watched celebrity family on the planet. It’s a perfect series to introduce E! viewers to scripted pop culture programming on the network,” he said.
It’s a programming evolution seen by other reality-centered networks such as Discovery and Bravo. Discovery recently launched its first scripted miniseries, Klondike – to modest ratings. Bravo last month announced its first scripted series pick-up, the hourlong Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.
NBC Universal-owned E!, where the goose that lays the golden programming egg continues to be Keeping Up With The Kardashians, had shown interest in entering the scripted space with its development slate in 2012, promising to have two scripted series on the air by 2013. Nothing came of that roster, so the vow stayed in limbo.
The Royals came out of its development slate from last April. It marks Schwahn’s first project since One Tree Hill ended its nine-season run in 2012. He will serve as executive producer, writer and director.
Filmed in Britain, the series is slated for a 2015 premiere. – Los Angeles Times/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services