Just Four of the New Fall Broadcast TV Series Are Women-Created
Now that the May upfronts are over, the Big Five networks (ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, and NBC) have solidified their fall 2017–18 TV lineups. And CBS isn’t the only one failing women. Women and Hollywood crunched the numbers and found that 21 percent — just four of the 19 new fall series — are created or co-created by women. The picture is even more horrifying when you break down the numbers network-by-network: Women created 50 percent of The CW’s new fall shows, 40 percent of ABC’s, and 17 percent of CBS’. Neither FOX nor NBC have any new women-created series on their fall schedules.
Both CBS and The CW greenlit one new woman-created show each. Co-created by Dana Klein, CBS’s “9JKL” centers, unsurprisingly, on a man living in an apartment that’s sandwiched between his parents’ and brother’s apartments. The sitcom is based on star co-creator and star Mark Feuerstein’s real life. The CW’s rebooted “Dynasty” is co-created by Sallie Patrick and Stephanie Savage. It follows the rivalry between two one percent families, the Carringtons and the Colbys. Most of the action will be seen through billionaire’s daughter (Grant Show), and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal’s (Nathalie Kelley) perspectives. And their relationship is anything but familial.
ABC fared slightly better and put two women-created series on its schedule. Starring “Parenthood’s” Jason Ritter, “The Gospel of Kevin” is a dramedy about a man who, according to a possible-angel (Cristela Alonzo, “Cristela”), is destined to save the world. The series is created by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters. Tassie Cameron’s drama “Ten Days in the Valley” tells the story of TV producer and single mother (Kyra Sedgwick) whose daughter goes missing. As the woman searches for her daughter, her life begins to parallel the storylines on her crime series.
So, obviously, these numbers are not ideal — or even close. They are even lower than the findings of “Boxed In 2015–16: Women On Screen and Behind the Scenes in Television,” Dr. Martha Lauzen’s annual study. She found that 76 percent of all TV series in the 2015–16 season featured no female creators.
For the record, there are a number of female-created series expected to debut midseason. NBC will broadcast Mindy Kaling’s comedy “Champions” and Jenna Bans’ suburban moms-turned-robbers drama “Good Girls.” The CW’s DC comic adaptation “Black Lightning,” co-created by Mara Brock Akil (“Being Mary Jane”) will air as will the cancer dramedy “Life Sentence,” co-created by Erin Cardillo. A “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff from Stacy McKee, the “Roseanne” revival, and Emily Kapnek sitcom “Splitting Up Together” are all set at ABC. And FOX’s medical drama “The Resident,” co-created by Amy Holden Jones and Hayley Schore, will debut midseason.
But, right now, putting just four series from women on the fall 2017 schedule is simply unacceptable.
Check out our detailed network-by-network breakdown of the new fall 2017 TV series below, as well as the midseason series announced so far. Synopses are from press materials unless otherwise noted.
ABC — 40% women-created (2/5 new shows)
“The Gospel of Kevin” — Created by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters
Kevin Finn (Jason Ritter, “Parenthood”), a cluelessly self-serving person, is on a dangerous path to despair. In a downward spiral, Kevin returns home to stay with his widowed twin sister (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, “Once Upon a Time”) and niece. On his first night there, an unlikely celestial being named Yvette (Cristela Alonzo, “Cristela”) appears to him and presents him with a mission — to save the world.
“Ten Days in the Valley” — Created by Tassie Cameron
“Ten Days in the Valley” stars Kyra Sedgwick as Jane Sadler, an overworked television producer and single mother in the middle of a separation whose life is turned upside down when her young daughter goes missing in the middle of the night. Just like her controversial police TV show, everything is a mystery, everyone has a secret and no one can be trusted.
CBS — 17% women-created (1/6 new shows)
“9JKL” — Co-Created by Dana Klein
Based on the real-life experiences of executive producer and star Mark Feuerstein, “9JKL” is an engaging and relatable comedy about family, family… and more family. Josh is a new divorcé and actor between projects who moves home to New York to regroup — and into an apartment sandwiched between his parents and his brother’s family. As he gets back on his feet, he’s faced with his most challenging role yet: being a good son and brother while keeping his relatives at bay. As they literally come at him from both sides, he realizes he desperately needs to establish some ground rules, because his loving family is always going to be there for him. Always.
The CW — 50% women-created (1/2 new shows)
“Dynasty” — Co-Created by Sallie Patrick and Stephanie Savage
The CW’s “Dynasty” is described as a modern take that follows two of America’s wealthiest families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, as they feud for control over their fortune and their children. The drama will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington, daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington (Grant Show), and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal (Nathalie Kelley), a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class. In an age where dynasties appear everywhere — from reality TV to the polling booths — this epic drama features the one percent in all its glitz and gloss, while exposing the dark underbelly: a corrupt world built on backroom deals, betrayal, and, in some cases, murder. (The Hollywood Reporter)
FOX — Zero women-created (0/3 new shows)
NBC—Zero women-created (0/3 new shows)
“Splitting Up Together” — Created by Emily Kapnek
Based on the Danish series, “Splitting Up Together” is the story of a couple (Jenna Fischer, “The Office” and Oliver Hudson, “Scream Queens”) whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.
Untitled “Grey’s Anatomy” firefighter spinoff — Created by Stacy McKee
Set in a Seattle firehouse, the spinoff follows a group of heroic firefighters. From the captain to the newest recruit, the show revolves around these brave men and women as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock. (Deadline)
“Roseanne” Revival — Created by Roseanne Barr
This eight-episode “Roseanne” reboot is coming in 2018 and reunites the entire original Roseanne cast: Roseanne Barr (Roseanne), John Goodman (Dan), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), Michael Fishman (D.J.), and Lecy Goranson (Becky). Sarah Chalke, who played the character Becky in later seasons, will also appear in another role.
“Black Lightning” — Co-Created by Mara Brock Akil
Cress Williams takes on the role of Jefferson Pierce, the hero who hung up his suit and his secret identity years ago. But with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning. (The Hollywood Reporter)
“Life Sentence” — Co-Created by Erin Cardillo
“Life Sentence” revolves around a young woman (“Pretty Little Liars’” Lucy Hale) who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, finds out that she’s not dying after all and has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.” (The Hollywood Reporter)
“The Resident” — Co-Created by Amy Holden Jones and Hayley Schore
Focusing on three doctors at different stages of their careers and a dedicated young nurse, “The Resident” is a provocative new medical drama that rips back the curtain to reveal the truth of what really happens, both good and bad, in hospitals across the country.
“Champions” — Created by Mindy Kaling
Vince is living every bachelor’s dream. He owns the fifth largest gym in Brooklyn, dates an endless string of beautiful women and lives with his dumb, lovable brother Matthew. But Vince’s simple life gets complicated fast when his high school fling Priya unexpectedly drops off their 15-year-old son Michael so he can attend a city school for super-talented kids. How will Vince handle this wildly ambitious and hilariously witty teenager? Well, somehow he’ll have to work it out.
“Good Girls” — Created by Jenna Bans
When three suburban moms get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide it’s time to stick up for themselves by robbing the local supermarket at (toy) gunpoint. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than they expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realize the perfect getaway will be harder than they think.