Los Angeles – E! announced on March 6 that it has greenlit the network’s first-ever original scripted series, The Royals, a one-hour drama about a fictional British Royal family set in modern day London. Produced by Lionsgate, the Royals inhabit a world of opulence and regal tradition that caters to any and every desire, but one that also comes with a price tag of duty, destiny and intense public scrutiny. The sweeping series, which is set to premiere in 2015, is executive produced, written and directed by Mark Schwahn (One Tree Hill), and executive produced by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola (One Tree Hill, Smallville).
“We are excited that E!’s first original scripted series will transport viewers into a world that they are already intensely interested in, but reality cameras would never give them access to. The Royals will offer a fictional look behind the very public gilded façade of the palace gates to imagine the private, lush, fun, sexy world of the most-watched celebrity family on the planet,” said Jeff Olde, Executive Vice President of Original Programming & Development. “It’s a perfect series to introduce E! viewers to scripted pop culture programming on the network.”
Kevin Plunkett, SVP, Scripted Programming for E! added: “This is a big idea and Mark, Brian, Joe and the Lionsgate team delivered. They have an extraordinary track record at crafting buzz worthy content that reflects and drives the pop culture discussion. This team, working on this concept, with this cast is a great way for us to launch our first scripted show.”
Set and shot in Great Britain, The Royals pits public perception of the royal family against the reality of life inside the castle walls, from the lavish parties and high stakes political summits, to the private family gatherings and secret romances. However being born into this elite circle comes at a cost and the Royals’ lives are played out on a world stage where press is 24/7 and social media drives an insatiable appetite to follow their every move. The ensemble cast includes Elizabeth Hurley, Vincent Regan, William Moseley, Alexandra Park, Tom Austen, Jake Maskall, Ukweli Roach and Oliver Milburn.
Queen Helena (Hurley) has the power, beauty and intelligence to get anything and everything she wants. And failure isn’t an option, especially when it comes to protecting her family’s image, which she will stop at nothing to control. King Simon (Regan) is a moral compass amidst the chaos of palace life. He is a good king, yet one who controversially places his own family above the people he rules. The youngest son of Simon and Helena, Liam (Moseley) is thrust into the spotlight when he unexpectedly becomes the heir apparent in the pilot. Liam enjoys the many perks of being the world’s most eligible bachelor while coping with the rigors and pressures that come with being the future King. Sole daughter Eleanor (Park) is a controversial princess whose bad choices play out in the tabloids, much to the Royals’ chagrin. She is raw, intelligent and forever waging a battle between her desires to be young and independent and the rules and tradition she was raised to live by. Ophelia, a young American girl, is modern, self-reliant and independently thinking, which causes her to butt against the traditions and rigidity of the Royal family when she embarks on a romance with Liam. The monarchy is a world she has known for a long time as her father is the head of security, but she now experiences the spotlight in a different, more personal way when she starts dating the prince.
Eleanor’s new bodyguard Jasper (Austen) is as confident and charismatic as he is cunning and duplicitous. He will prove to be one of the few people in Eleanor’s life who can match wits and cunning with her. Cyrus (Maskall), the nefarious brother of King Simon, has gone through life with none of the responsibility, but all of the benefits of a King’s existence. He is a man of dubious moral fibre who will stop at nothing to reverse the injustice of being second born. Prince Liam’s bodyguard, Marcus (Roach), becomes a knowing confidant for the wayward prince. Marcus has a great sense of integrity that belies his youth; time and again, he will prove his mettle in protecting his charge. Ted (Milburn) is head of the Royals’ security detail and the father of Ophelia. He is steadfastly dedicated to keeping a professional distance from the Royal family, which becomes nearly impossible when Ophelia and Liam become romantically involved.