FOX Plots a 'Prison Break' Spinoff

FOX is looking to spin "Prison Break" off into a new series that capitalizes on the eternal hunger for the women-behind-bars genre.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, FOX has ordered a script for the tentatively titled "Prison Break: Cherry Hill" (yesh, it sounds vaguely pornographic to us, too), which will be written by "Prison Break" executive producer Matt Olmstead and co-exec producer Zack Estrin.

The show's centerpiece would be Molly, an upper-middle-class wife whose family is torn apart by the mysterious Company, the vast government conspiracy that just can't stop messing with the lives of Michael (Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) on "Prison Break." Seeking revenge and perhaps reading about Michael and Linc in the papers, Molly finds her way down to the maximum security Panamanian prison Sona.

That will bring the character, currently uncast, into the "Prison Break" universe at some point next spring. "Prison Break" is going on a planned hiatus from January through mid-April.

In "Cherry Hill," Molly would find herself in a women's detention center facing a life sentence. Naturally, additional information about the Company and surviving members of her family would lead her to seek both freedom and revenge.

While it's customary to use a cresting show as the launching point for a spinoff (like "Grey's Anatomy" giving birth to "Private Practice"), there's some precedent for a show in a ratings decline spawning successful offspring. With "The Practice" on the verge of cancellation, for example, ABC and David E. Kelley created "Boston Legal" out of its ashes.

If "Women's Prison Break" doesn't go forward, the trade paper indicates that Molly could stick around the original "Prison Break" as a regular character, assuming that show gets a fourth season.

After averaging just under 9.4 million viewers in its second year and 9.2 million in its first, the "Prison Break" audience has been markedly down this fall. Monday (Oct. 23) night's viewership of roughly 7.45 million was the season's second highest to date.

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