After focusing solely on celebrity news and reality shows for the entirety of its existence, E! Entertainment Television unveiled its first development slate of scripted projects back in April. That list continued to grow earlier this month with the addition of a supernatural romantic drama, and now the network has announced plans for an hourlong series that revolves around a prestigious art gallery.
Entitled Gallerina, the scripted drama will center on a young woman who is determined to establish herself at the Bettencourt Gallery in Los Angeles, now recognized as the exalted center of the art world. Her brains and her morals will be put to the test as she must deal with her iconic mother and the gallery's womanizing namesake, while also acclimating herself to the collision of wealthy elite, emerging artists, and renowned players. Written by Michelle McGrath, the project is executive produced by Mike Tollin and director-producer Mark Waters, who helmed feature films such as Mean Girls and the 2004 remake of Freaky Friday.
When cable maven Bonnie Hammer assumed control of E! following the merger between NBC Universal and Comcast, she instituted a new strategy for the Entertainment network and made introducing scripted programming a top priority. In April of this year, E! revealed a slate of nine scripted series in development from talents such as John Wells, Kevin Spacey, Michael De Luca, Phillip Noyce, Emily Whitesell, and Josh Reims. "Our strategy is centered on telling compelling stories that reflect pop culture relevancy in unique and irreverent ways, and these scripted series will complement E!'s already diverse mix of reality, topical, news and comedy franchises," E! president of entertainment programming Lisa Berger said at the time. "The response from the creative community has been incredibly positive and we are excited to be in business with such high-caliber writers, producers and directors."
I have never watched one consecutive minute of E!, but I applaud the push to add scripted series to the schedule. The less reality television and celebrity gossip shows, the better.