Nicholas Sparks’ stories have developed a reputation for the sort of emotional gut-punch that hits really hard and then gradually pulls away until you’re bawling your eyes out at the beauty of the world around you. It works, and Sparks knows it. That’s why all of his books and movies have some kind of unexpected wrinkle that makes the drama hit harder, whether it’s an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or a baffling ghost wife. Watching Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth fall in love is nice and all, but it needs that extra oomph to take it from being a boring “love story” to an emotionally devastating “LOVE STORY.”
So consider us a little skeptical of the fact that ABC has just picked up a semi-autobiographical comedy series created by Sparks that doesn’t seem to feature any ghosts, unexpected military deployments, or fatal illnesses. This comes from Deadline, which says the show will be based on Sparks’ experiences as a famous romance novelist who recently got divorced, and it will be titled The Next Chapter (get it?). Fittingly, then, the main character of the show will be a famous romance novelist named Ben Diamond who gets divorced and then “not only begins to question his belief in love, but he also must learn to date again and live on his own.” In case you’ve already forgotten, this is supposed to be a comedy show.
Still, there has to be something else going on here. Does Ben Diamond have a terrible disease, and the only cure is to fall in love? Did he divorce the ex-wife because she was actually a time traveler and had to return to a future where all love is outlawed? Whatever the truth is, we can only assume that it’ll totally make us cry when it’s revealed.