ABC Space Age Drama ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’ Gets 10-Episode Order For Summer

ABC is adding a second homegrown original drama series for next summer with a 10-episode straight-to-series order to Astronaut Wives Club. It will join Mistresses, set to return for a second season in the summer. Both series are produced by ABC Studios. The Astronaut Wives Club hails from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire and Michael London’s Groundswell Productions.

Based on Lily Koppel’s best-selling book published last summer, the project had been on fast-track development since ABC took it in in October as a potential limited series for summer eyeing February-March start date.  Then 10 days ago, The Astronaut Wives Club was given a traditional pilot order. Today, that has been upped to a 10-episode pickup for what will likely be marketed as a limited “event” series for summer. I hear work on backup scripts is already underway. Written by Savage in her first TV writing effort since co-creating Gossip Girl with Schwartz, the 1969-set Astronaut Wives Club tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. Savage, Schwartz and Fake Empire’s President of Television Len Goldstein executive produce with London. Groundswell’s president of production Janice Williams, who brought the project to London, is expected to produce.

Comments (19)

  • Someone needs to put a stop to ABC.

    Comment by Billy — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:04pm PST  
    • They change regimes every two years or so. That train is always on time.

      Comment by Conductor — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 4:34pm PST  
  • While the boy’s are away it’s scissor time!

    Lookin’ forward to this!

    Comment by Baked in Alaska — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:17pm PST  
  • Well, it certainly does sound dumb. Wives Of People Who Did Things? Next can we have Husbands Of Famous Women? People Married to Cops? Best Friends Of Doctors? Folks Standing Around Watching Stuff Happen?

    “Let’s do a Mad Man retro kind of thing!”

    “But what’s the hook?”

    “What do you mean, what’s the hook? It’s a prime time soap.”

    “The network will need a hook.”

    “Ah. OK, then. A soap with astronauts. Who are never there. Because they’re busy training and going to the moon and whatnot. While the soap plots play out. So, basically 60′s women screwing around on their astronaut husbands to a Motown sound track.”

    “I like it! But first, let’s all pretend Pan Am never happened.”

    Comment by Book Guy — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:23pm PST  
    • you should write a pilot for ABC

      Comment by Green Light — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:31pm PST  
    • I’m really tired of the ignorant, misogynistic crap that’s being accepted as gospel in relation to this series. They were normal women who suddenly had to be the “First Ladies of Space,” while being constantly terrified their husbands would be killed on the job. There are plenty of storylines there, but apparently, Book Guy, you never got around to reading The Right Stuff.

      Comment by Edith Wharton died for your sins — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 5:12pm PST  
      • Big deal. The wives are supporting characters in the drama of the space story. Pointing that out does not make one a misogynist. Edith Wharton, of all people, would have known better.

        Comment by TVScribe — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 6:50pm PST  
      • Look, I wish the producers well. I never want anyone to fail. I hope I’m wrong and they go 100 episodes. Really.

        But you don’t build stories around what are essentially supporting players. It doesn’t work. It’s not politics, it’s not misogyny, it’s story-telling 101. You’ve got a bright, shiny object: astronaut. But we’re not supposed to look at that, we’re looking at the person who makes sandwiches for the astronaut.

        Picture Lone Survivor but instead of following Mark Wahlberg we’re following his wife back in Texas. No, not the war hero, the wife of the war hero.

        Comment by Book Guy — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 7:35pm PST  
        • “But you don’t build stories around what are essentially supporting players.” Somehow, Tom Stoppard managed it : )

          We’ve looked at that bright, shiny object for over forty years. But how did their families, suddenly forced to be forever perfect in front of the nation, cope? What happens when someone you love achieves his dream, but it turns your entire life upside down? How do you be both mother and father to your children, who are living in terror while everyone else thinks it’s so cool their Dad’s in space? Maybe I’m sensitive to this because I know someone who’s husband was a Space Shuttle astronaut. He got the glory; she got the marathon stress, and there were lots of stories to tell about how his career choices affected her, their children, their marriage, and their extended family and friends. Multiply that by several families who all approach the challenges differently, and yes, hopefully, they could run a 100 episodes.

          Comment by Edith Wharton died for your sins — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 8:57pm PST  
      • Who gives a crap about The Right Stuff, or what you are tired of? This is about a network putting on interesting, and entertaining programming that viewers will want to watch in large numbers. It’s not about you, your sensibilities, or artistic values. It’s a numbers game, as in ratings. This smells like uninteresting, spectacular GARBAGE. Period. I’ll be generous and give it two episodes before it falls to Lucky 7′s ratings level. Give Paul Lee credit though for keeping the pink slip notepaper people in business.

        Comment by Order a new book of cancellation notices for ABC — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 8:42pm PST  
        • Yeah, the same things were initially said about Lifetime’s ARMY WIVES. “You can’t build a show around the person making the sandwiches”, “The soldiers are more interesting”, etc. yet that show ran for seven years.

          Comment by Honey Bunny — Sunday February 9, 2014 @ 4:30pm PST  
  • Congrats. This is absolutely a cool project. The book is wonderful and Stephanie is such a great writer!

    Comment by Sounds fantastic — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:33pm PST  
  • No mention of ABC’s other returning summer scripted show, Rookie Blue. Rumor has it that it’s been bumped up to a 22 episode order this year. But there’s no word on how ABC plans to use the 9 extra episodes. Do you have any scoop on what’s going on, especially now that ABC didn’t get Thursday NFL games?

    Will Scandal come back later because of Kerry’s pregnancy??

    Comment by Kathryn — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 3:38pm PST  
    • Considering Scandal will end early before May Sweeps, it’s possible ABC will schedule Rookie Blue earlier, possibly between May and June so that they’ll have more than enough weeks to air 22 episodes in a row (and possibly do double bills-nights every once in a while).

      Comment by James — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 9:25pm PST  
  • I think they should start this on Thursdays in mid august and run it until the football games on CBS are done. Then start the next seasons of Greta and scandal in November.

    Comment by James — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 5:19pm PST  
  • The photo on the book cover makes the wives look like they are in their 40′s and 50′s but the TV show will cast women in their 20′s and 30′s.

    Comment by Anonymous — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 5:42pm PST  
  • Greta? I thought the network passed on the Patricia Cornwell project?

    Comment by Greta? — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 6:18pm PST  
  • Isn’t the real story here that ABC is moving to a nontraditional programming model a la Fox. They have already extended their development season and the straight to series model is going to mean more shows with 10-episode orders per season.

    Comment by Interesting — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 6:47pm PST  
  • I’d like to see more original programming in the summer. “24″ is going to air most of its episodes in June and July. There is a huge audience in the summer and they don’t just want to watch crappy reality shows so this could work very well as a limited series.

    Comment by Astronaut Jones — Wednesday February 5, 2014 @ 8:43pm PST  
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