E! is close to bringing scripted fare to its viewers. The cable channel is nearing pilot orders on two projects, an individual with knowledge of the deals told TheWrap.
"Songbyrd" and "The Royals" are expected to move forward, although the deals haven't closed yet. Both will be contingent on casting.
"Songbyrd,” from "Grey's Anatomy" writer Krista Vernoff, follows a songwriter whose inspiration turns out to be a lie. It features tunes from Grammy winner Diane Warren and draws on her experiences. She also executive produces along with "Smash" and "Chicago" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron with Universal TV.
Produced by Lionsgate, "The Royals" is part fairy tale, part cautionary tale. The contemporary family ensemble is steeped in all of the regal opulence of the British monarchy with elements of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." It captures corruption by power, wealth and desire from a Royal point of view. The show is executive produced and written by Mark Schwahn ("One Tree Hill") and executive produced by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola ("One Tree Hill," "Smallville").
Both projects were included in E!'s scripted development slate in April.
The cable network's NBCUniversal sister, Bravo, is also making a push into scripted programming – a mandate from the company's cable entertainment chairwoman Bonnie Hammer.
Deadline first reported the impending pilot orders.