According to The Wrap, ABC has ordered a pilot written and executive produced by Reality Bites scribe Helen Childress about a modeling agency in the ’70s. Model Women is inspired by Robert Lacey’s book Model Woman: Eileen Ford And The Business Of Beauty, which explains why Childress opted for such a lazy pun as a show title (especially now that the far superior title 36-24-36 is taken). The pilot is set during the “model wars,” a particularly trying time in U.S. history when the Ford Model Agency had the model-representation market cornered until Paris-based Elite Model Management expanded to New York. NBC and Cindy Crawford are making their own show about the two institutions’ battle for clients, called Icon, which is another title that’s better than Model Women.
The ABC pilot will focus on “Bertie Geiss, a tempestuous matriarch and uncompromising businesswoman at the helm of an internationally renowned modeling agency.” It’s unclear whether said agency is Ford, which was certainly internationally renowned, or Elite, which became legitimately international when it strapped on its pumps and strutted onto a plane to Manhattan. Or perhaps the pilot will invent a new modeling agency, since, despite being inspired by true events, it’s technically a “fictionalized family drama.” After all, sometimes the truth just isn’t as leggy as fiction.