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November 6, 2015

Amanda Knox-Themed ‘Guilt,’ Tim Kring Drama Score ABC Family Series Orders (Exclusive)


Lesley Goldberg / The Hollywood Reporter

ABC Family is making good on its bid to double its original programming.

The Disney-owned cable network has picked up Tim Kring’sBeyond and its Amanda Knox-themed drama Guilt to series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Supernatural drama Beyond hails from Heroes creator Kring. The series revolves around a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new supernatural abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy.

From Imperative Entertainment and Automatik, the drama is created, written and executive produced by Adam Nussdorf (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland). Kring, Zak Kadison, Justin Levy and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones executive produce.

Beyond marks the latest TV foray for Kring, who has NBC’sHeroes Reborn wrapping its limited run and recently saw miniseries Dig conclude on USA Network. The drama was picked up to pilot in April and stars Burkely Duffield with supporting role recastings a possibility.

Meanwhile, Guilt — with a plot seemingly inspired by the Knox trial — is described as an edgy, soapy thriller that revolves around an American in London who becomes the prime suspect in the savage murder of her roommate. As the investigation unfolds, viewers will question whether she’s a naive young girl whose poor decisions are being magnified under the ruthless glare of the British tabloids, or whether she’s a sociopath who brutally murdered her friend. Even her own sister, who comes to London to defend her, will question how well she really knows her little sister as more and more ugly truths come out.

The drama was created by Kathryn Price, who penned the script and exec produces alongside The Game Plan cohort Nichole Millard. Former ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson also exec produces the series, which is a co-production of Sea to Sky Entertainment, the joint venture between Lionsgate Television and Thunderbird Films, and BV Family Productions in association with ABC Family. Daisy Head stars and, like Beyond, may see some of the supporting roles recast.

“These two shows are an exciting part of our evolution into Freeform,” ABC Family exec vp development Karey Burke said. “Guilt is a sexy, sophisticated event series whose European location feels bigger than anything we have ever done. Beyond introduces our audience to a new hero and takes them into a complex supernatural universe with great suspense and deep emotion.”

ABC Family, which is undergoing a rebranding that will kick off in January when it is renamed Freeform, plans to double its original programming in the next four years under president Tom Ascheim as the network focuses on what it calls “becomers.” The cabler recently handed out a straight-to-series pickup for a comedy based on the life of Nicki Minaj. Its scripted roster also includes Baby Daddy, The Fosters, Switched at Birth, Young & Hungry, Stitchers, Pretty Little Liars, Recovery Road, Kevin From Work and Shadowhunters.

Meanwhile, fellow pilots Stay and single-camera comedy Tough Cookie will not move forward. Multicam comedy Gorgeous Morons, however, is still in the mix. That leaves recently ordered Famous in Love, starring Bella Thorne and from Pretty Little Liars boss Marlene King, as its lone drama pilot in the works.