ABC's "Still Star-Crossed" - Wade Briggs as Benvolio, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline & Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus (ABC/Ed Herrera)
When ABC announced its mid-season 2017 premieres earlier this year (January), to the surprise and disappointment of many, the much-anticipated post-"Romeo & Juliet" TV series from Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland, titled "Still Star-Crossed," which stars British actress Lashana Lynch, wasn't included on the schedule. It was expected to premiere this current season, but it appeared that the network would push it back even further with a premiere date announcement to eventually be made.
Speaking at the TCA (Television Critics Association) in January, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey had this to say about the ambitious period drama: “It has taken us a little longer than we thought it would’ve taken us... I’ve seen the first three episodes, and the fourth one is coming my way soon. It has all of the great hallmarks of a Shondaland project, but it also is very epic in terms of its scope and scale, and we did not want to rush it into a place where we felt like it wasn’t ready.”
And as for when she thought it would eventually premiere, Dungey said: “We are talking about summer; there is also a possibility that it becomes something for fall... It’s a bit TBD .”
Fans can relax now as ABC announced its summer 2017 schedule, with a number of new scripted, reality competition, and game shows included in the lineup. And one of the scripted series is of course “Still Star-Crossed,” which will premiere on Monday, May 29, airing from 10:01-11:00 p.m. Now you know. Mark your calendars.
Given how *epic* it is, we'd assume expectations are high, and ABC would want to introduce it when it'll likely be most-watched. Summer series, in general, don't attract the same volume of interest (it's the summer after all) as those that debut during the typical prime fall and winter months. So it's a bit of a surprise that ABC will run it over the summer; although it's a season that's become more and more active for networks in terms of original scripted series.
Written by Heather Mitchell, and based on the book by Melinda Taub, the "Romeo & Juliet" sequel is titled "Still Star-Crossed"and is set in 16th century Verona, picking up where Shakespeare’s original work ended. It chronicles the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.
The story centers on Rosaline (Lashana Lynch), described as a beautiful, intelligent and headstrong Capulet and Juliet’s cousin. Following the death of her parents, Rosaline is taken in by her aunt and uncle, Juliet’s parents Lady and Lord Capulet, and forced to work as a servant. She does her best to tolerate her aunt’s cruelty, and focuses on finding a way to free herself of the humiliation. She is eventually ordered to marry Benvolio (male lead Wade Briggs), a Montague.
The diverse cast also includes (in terms of actors of African descent) Lucien Laviscount, Sterling Sulieman, and Ebonee Noel.
Lashana Lynch, who got her break in the 2012 Noel Clarke feature film "Fast Girls," also played the tile character in "Educating Rita" on stage in the UK, for which she received much acclaim.
Also of note on ABC's summer 2017 schedule, with respect to this blog's interests, is a thriller series titled "Somewhere Between," which is based on a South Korean format and was given a 10-episode order. It centers on a mother who knows when and how her daughter will be murdered... but she doesn’t know who the murderer is.
Here’s the full synopsis: Laura Price isn’t crazy: She knows her daughter Serena is going to be murdered. She doesn’t know who the murderer is, or why she’s killed, but she knows exactly when it will happen, where and how. Despite this, all of her attempts to keep her daughter safe fail, and Serena’s fixed, unmovable, terrifying fate keeps her directly in the path of her killer.
Paula Patton will make her TV series regular debut leading "Somewhere Between," playing Laura Price.
Stephen Tolkin ("Brothers & Sisters") is writer/producer.
With "Still Star-Crossed" and "Somewhere Between," Lashana Lynch and Patton will be joining Kerry Washington and Viola Davis as another pair of actresses of African descent leading ABC drama series; although both new shows will air over the summer (Patton's "Somewhere Between" premieres on Monday, July 24, from 10:01-11:00 p.m.).
There's also a new program called “Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME” - a series that will go on a search for great innovators and entrepreneurs to help fund their American dreams. It premieres on Sunday, June 11 at 9.00 p.m.
Here’s the full schedule. All times are ET/PT:
Wednesday, May 17
9:31-10:00 p.m. “Downward Dog” (Sneak Preview)
Sunday, May 21
8:00-11:00 p.m. “Billboard Music Awards”
Monday, May 22
9:00-11:00 p.m. “The Bachelorette” (Season 13 Premiere)
Tuesday, May 23
8:00-8:30 p.m. “Downward Dog” (Time-Period Premiere)
Wednesday, May 24
8:00-11:00 p.m. “Dirty Dancing” (Three-Hour Movie Event)
Monday, May 29
10:01-11:00 p.m. “Still Star-Crossed” (Series Premiere)
Sunday, June 11
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Celebrity Family Feud” (Season 3 Premiere)
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Steve Harvey’s FUNDERDOME” (Series Premiere)
10:00-11:00 p.m. “$100,000 Pyramid” (Season 2 Premiere)
Wednesday, June 14
10:00-11:00 p.m. “To Tell the Truth”
Thursday, June 22
8:00-10:00 p.m. “Boy Band” (Two-Hour Series Premiere)
10:00-11:00 p.m. “The Gong Show” (Series Premiere)
Thursday, June 29
8:00-9:00 p.m. “Boy Band”
9:00-10:00 p.m. “Battle of the Network Stars” (Series Premiere)
Wednesday, July 12
8:00-11:00 p.m. “The 2017 ESPYS”
Monday, July 24
10:01-11:00 p.m. “Somewhere Between” (Series Premiere)
Monday, July 31
8:00-10:00 p.m. “The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All”
Tuesday, August 1
8:00-11:00 p.m. “CMA Fest 2017”
Tuesday, August 8
8:00-10:00 p.m. “Bachelor in Paradise” (Season 4 Premiere)
Wednesday, August 9
9:00-11:00 p.m. “The Story of Diana: Part One”
Thursday, August 10
9:00-11:00 p.m. “The Story of Diana: Part Two”
Monday, August 14
8:00-10:01 p.m. “Bachelor in Paradise” (Time Period Premiere)
Watch the most recent trailer for "Still Star-Crossed" embedded below: