You know the easiest way to measure just how big the current space race resurgence has become? I mean, sure, you can actually pay attention to the news and all that, but it’s quicker to note all of the TV series being developed that aren’t just about outer space, but about the astronauts that make it up there. The latest show to focus (at least partly) on NASA’s elite is ABC Studios’ The Astronaut Wives Club. ABC has given the show a 10-episode order straight to series order, skipping all that pesky pilot business. It’s a tactic usually used for shows that have a strong hook and the potential to draw big ratings. Is that what we have here?
The show is based on Lily Koppel’s The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, published in June of last year. It chronicles the troublesome time the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts as their lives went from quiet and respectable to front page news. Annie Glenn and Trudy Cooper, along with their compatriots, formed the titular club and met on a regular basis to provide support and friendship to each other. (They probably had a couple hundred Mercur-itas over the years as well.) Fifty years later, these women have survived through tragedy and heartache, and still remain friends.
Assuming they land a talented cast, this sounds like it could be a solid show, though it’s being developed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who co-created Gossip Girl. Savage, who will serve as the head writer, was also one of the minds behind Cult and The Carrie Diaries, while Schwartz created The O.C. and Chuck. These are not people who live and breathe believable drama, but this might be the needle in the attractive socialite haystack.
Though it just received the series order, the rights to Astronaut Wives Club were picked up by ABC last October. The network did indeed go the usual pilot route at the end of last month, but they’re apparently confident enough to bring the other nine episodes in without further proof of concept. They’re looking to go into production soon with an eye on giving it the “summer event series” label.
This means it will join CBS’ mystery thriller Extant with Halle Berry in drawing audiences to spacey drama. And don’t forget about NBC’s upcoming pilot for a 1960s-set astronaut comedy with Will Ferrell, or the Cape Canaveral drama that some of the Mad Men writers are developing. Then there’s the Mars One reality series looming on the horizon. Now all we need is for Food Network to figure out a way to make a cooking show in space and we’re set.
Below is a CBS News segment that aired around the publication of Koppel’s book, featuring the real life Club. Lookin’ good, ladies!