The CW is developing an anthology series inspired by the works of Jane Austen, Variety has learned.
Titled “Modern Austen,” the one-hour series reimagines Austen’s novels as six modern stories. Each season is a different novel, beginning with “Pride and Prejudice,” set in contemporary San Francisco.
The series hails from Eleanor Burgess, who will serve as writer and executive producer. Burgess most recently wrote on the HBO series “Perry Mason.” Stephanie Allain and Gabrielle Ebron will executive produce via Homegrown Pictures. Warner Bros. Television will produce.
Austen’s works have been frequently adapted for both film and television over the years. “Pride and Prejudice” alone has been adapted into multiple television miniseries as well as features. Most recently it was turned into a feature in 2005 starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, Rupert Friend as Mr. Wickham, and Matthew Macfayden as Mr. Darcy. There have also been more free spirited approaches to Austen’s work, such as the feature “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” or the 1995 film “Clueless,” which was loosely based on Austen’s novel “Emma.”
Should the project go to series, it would not be the first CW show based on well-known books. The network debuted the drama series “Nancy Drew” last year, which is based on the detective novel series of the same name.
News of the development comes on the same day that The CW announced that it has given a backdoor pilot order to “Painkiller,” a spinoff of the DC series “Black Lightning.” Jordan Calloway will reprise the role of Painkiller, a.k.a Khalil Payne, in the pilot. “Black Lightning” creator Salim Akil will write, direct, and executive produce.
(Pictured: Rupert Friend and Keira Knightley in the 2005 film “Pride and Prejudice”)