As the “Pretty Little Liars” era comes to an end on Freeform, Marlene King is closing the book on one project and opening the first chapter of another.
King’s new Freeform series, “Famous In Love,” depicts the Hollywood Cinderella story of everyday girl Paige Townsend (Bella Thorne), an aspiring actress whose career hits the fast track when she books the role of a lifetime. Paige’s life is instantly turned upside down as her fame skyrockets thanks to the frenzy surrounding her new movie. It’s hard to ignore the parallels between Paige and some of the “PLL” starlets, who were similarly thrust into the spotlight when their series blew up, but that’s not the only thing that makes Marlene King the perfect person to helm this series.
According to Thorne, King was their first pick when they first started shopping the series around town.
“I read [Famous in Love] when I was on my way out of ‘Shake it Up,'” Thorne says. “That’s how young I was. I did a quote for the book, and then years later we decided we wanted to make it a TV show — me and my manager. We were like, ‘Marlene King — she’s perfect for it, she’s amazing!”
When it came down to where the show would air, Freeform was an obvious pick. King has a history with the network, having developed not only flagship “Pretty Little Liars” but its spinoff series “Ravenswood” there. And the network’s leading-edge approach to the young adult genre also gels perfectly with the storyline of “Famous in Love.”
“Marlene wrote this beautiful script, and we just fell in love with it,” Thorne says. “We showed it to nine different networks, and we just loved Freeform and what they had to say and what direction they wanted to take the show in.”
“I read the book, and I just think it’s a slam dunk idea for a show,” Jenkins adds. “Marlene is expanding upon the book, and with a TV show you can kind of take your time with it, and go deeper into each story, and learn more about the characters.”
Now that Freeform is losing its all-time heavyweight, “Pretty Little Liars,” there’s a center-stage spot for a new hit series — and “Famous in Love” fits the ticket. Hollywood drama, plus a real-life “rags to riches” story might lack the bite of a central murder mystery, but it’s more than balanced out by its classic Marlene King sass and style.
“Famous in Love” premieres Tuesday (April 18) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.