Yet another venue for the comedic styling of Whitney Cummings was not the only program E! announced today as part of its new "Pop Of Culture" branding, so named for the sound of the aneurysm in your brain when you realize that E! is defining itself as "culture" now. There are other unscripted shows in the works—the Nigel Lythgoe-produced Opening Act, in which amateurs are surprised with the chance to open for superstars; Married To Jonas, in which viewers are surprised to discover that someone made a reality show about the eldest Jonas Brother—and, for the first time, a huge slate of scripted shows with plots that go beyond orchestrating weddings as publicity stunts.
They include: an adaptation of the Amy Devlin Mysteries graphic novels about a pop-culture-obsessed detective; the John Wells-produced Anne Of Hollywood, an update of the Anne Boleyn story set in present-day, Real Housewives-esque Hollywood; The 400, an 1890s period drama about the rise of the Vanderbilts; Upstarts, a 1990s period drama about the dotcom boom produced by The Social Network's Michael De Luca and Kevin Spacey; Fascination Street, which spans two different eras as two brothers try to get their band to take off in the past while investigating the frontman's disappearance in the present; and the even twistier crime drama Juror #9, which managed to completely lose us within the space of a four-sentence description.
Also in development: King David, a political drama from West Wing writer David Gerken about a billionaire "modern-day Mr. Smith" who fraternizes with D.C. lobbyists; an as-yet-untitled project about backstabbing executive assistants; and finally, Dorothy, another Wizard Of Oz-inspired skein in which a girl from Kansas City goes to work at the Emerald Hotel, and presumably every week something vaguely Wizard Of Oz-like happens. It's quite an ambitious slate for a network whose biggest forays into fiction involve convincing women who have famously been seen naked that they are interested in them as people. But presumably they will also continue to do that, just in case.