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'Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce' boss talks bringing scripted to Bravo's reality circus

"Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" boss on bringing scripted to Bravo: "This is an incredible opportunity"

Bravo, the fishbowl where real housewives, top chefs, and leather-colored real estate agents swim freely, will officially enter the scripted series waters on Dec. 2 when its dramedy "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" premieres.

The 13-episode first season will air at 10 p.m. ET/PT Tuesdays, the network announced during its presentation Monday at the Television Critics Assn press tour in Beverly Hills.

Executive producer Marti Noxon and stars Lisa Edelstein, Paul Adelstein, Beau Garrett and Necar Zadegan were on hand to drum up interest in the series inspired by the popular “Girlfriends’ Guide” books by Vicki Iovine. The series centers on self-help author Abby (Lisa Edelstein), whose marriage and career isn't so picture perfect. 

Despite its title, the hourlong isn't hung up on divorce, said Noxon — herself a divorcee who revealed she had just paid her last alimony payment before the panel.

"This show is so much more than that for me," she said. "It's not about my divorces. Or about divorces. I had been waiting for a long time to write about sexual politics. What's going on between men and women right now."

Each episode, Noxon said, will begin with a rule (e.g. "Don't lie to kids), setting in motion the story that explores what lesson was learned that led to that rule.

"We kind of play with what experiences are the life lessons that will help her at some point."

The series was originally set up at Showtime as a half-hour comedy a few years ago. Noxon, who served as a consulting producer on "Mad Men" in 2008, said the change in a network home and the change to an hourlong has been for the good

"To be honest, it got richer," she said. "I'm so excited to be be Bravo's first scripted show. I worked on "Mad Men" — and I'm not comparing us to "Mad Men" — but I was part of the experience of being on a train that changed a whole network. This is an incredible opportunity."

She said the expanded time allotment has "changed the DNA" of the stories, allowing more room for characters.

"The notes from the network have been, 'since we're going longer, can we go deeper?' " she said.

Bravo this week announced  "Orange Is the New Black" headline maker Laverne Cox will guest star. Meanwhile, veteran actress Carrie Fisher will have a recurring guest role as Abby's book editor. Fisher was cast before signing on for her "Star Wars" return, resulting in her unavailability for a number of episodes, which will be written into the show.

"It worked for the story that she goes away for a while," Noxon said, who noting they'll take a creative approach to the actress' apparent weight loss. "When she comes back, we'll say, 'She was in rehab!'"

For more TV news, follow me on Twitter: @villarrealy

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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