E! has become the latest network to enter into the scripted content fray by picking The Royals, a one-hour drama starring Elizabeth Hurley, up to series. The series, from One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn, will be set in modern day London and follow a fictional British Royal family whose youngest son becomes the heir apparent to the throne.
“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.”
E!’s sojourn into the world of scripted content follows recent news of Bravo’s first scripted pickup and VH1 further solidifying its commitment to scripted programming with a third pickup of its own. Recent years have seen the likes of IFC, Sundance, and History find critical and commercial success with their scripted properties, but with an increasingly crowded marketplace, The Royals might have its work cut out for it if it wants to stand out from the crowd.
In addition to Hurley, The Royals stars Vincent Regan (Strike Back), William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), Alexandra Park (The Elephant Princess), Tom Austen (The Borgias), and Jake Maskall (EastEnders).
The Royals will premiere sometime in 2015 on E!.
Do you think The Royals will be a success for E!? Is there another primarily unscripted network that you would like to see develop scripted programming? What type of scripted programming would you like to see from E! in the future, should The Royals do well?