“Breaking Bad” star Anna Gunn will spearhead Bravo’s first foray into scripted drama.
Gunn, 44, has been cast in the lead role of a series called “Rita,” one of a small group of drama pilots Bravo is producing as part of the network’s apparent plan to explore the world of scripted programming.
In the announcement from Bravo late Friday, “Rita” was described as “an adaptation” of a Danish series — an “edgy, humorous and acerbic family drama [that] follows an outspoken private school teacher who struggles to raise her own three teenage children while dealing with the inane bureaucracy and overprotective parents at her school.” That teacher would be Gunn — the “Rita” of the show’s title.
Production on the pilot for “Rita” will begin this spring, Bravo said. It will apparently vie with another Bravo drama pilot in development, — a show called “The Joneses” that was apparently previously announced. At least one of these two dramas will premiere toward the end of this year, Bravo said.
Both pilots are “part of the network’s overall strategy to expand its non-scripted original programming slate into the scripted genre,” Bravo said. “Both pilots center on the complex dynamics of modern families.”
Our take: Bravo to Gunn — and the cable network that hired her — for landing a post-“Breaking Bad” gig, since that critically acclaimed series is soon coming to an end. We all love her work as the meth-dealer Walter White’s wife, Skyler, and have followed her career ever since “Deadwood.”
She’s taking a risk, though. Bravo, of course, is so closely identified with unscripted shows — including the “Real Housewives” shows, along with the “Top Chef” franchise and all the rest of Bravo’s competition and reality shows — that getting Bravo viewers to accept the network as a destination for quality scripted fare strikes us as something of a challenge.
It’s also fascinating to us that Bravo is dipping its toes into the scripted-drama waters at all. Does this mean that the network foresees a time in the not-too-distant future when its over-the-top reality shows will have run their course or, to put it more bluntly, over-stayed their welcome? Could be. To which we say: Stay tuned.