TCA press tour: ABC’s ‘Trophy Wife’ explores the modern family

Malin Akerman stars as a woman who marries an older man and must deal with his children and previous ex-wives in ABC's new comedy "Trophy Wife."
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

These days it’s more normal to come from a broken family than from parents who have been married for 40 years. That’s the world ABC’s new comedy “Trophy Wife” is interested in exploring, said its creators during a summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

It turns out that the term “trophy wife,” normally associated with a rich man marrying a beautiful, much younger woman, is meant to be ironic in the case of the show. (Which makes sense for a female-friendly network like ABC, but whether prospective audiences will get it is another matter.)

The show’s setup does revolve around the travails of a woman named Kate (Malin Akerman) who marries an older man named Pete (Bradley Whitford), but that’s as trophy as it gets. Kate is goofy and somewhat bumbling and doesn’t know the first thing about how to act around Pete’s children and two powerful ex-wives.


PHOTOS: TCA press tour: The Scene

“With the wives, we’re going to have three strong, distinctive voices,” explained executive producer and co-writer Sarah Haskins at the Television Critics Assn. tour. “What we liked was that there’s no villain in a mixed family. They’re all just trying to raise kids and do their best by them.”

“Trophy Wife” is based on Haskins’ own experience of marrying a man 20 years her senior.

“I learned it by living it, I married my neighbor ... and he’d been married three times before, but we didn’t think America could accept that,” said Haskins. “It’s entering today’s culture of parenting, which is really hands-on, meeting their family and trying to convince them you’re not some weird extra fourth wife, but that you really want to be there and make it work.”

Akerman was a great fit for the lead because she was raised in a non-traditional family. Her parents were both married multiple times and she has all sorts of step- and half-siblings.

“I’ve grown up in different countries and gone to 10 million schools,” said Akerman. “Thanks to my crazy upbringing this has been really fun creatively. This show is relatable because it’s the new family unit we see so often.”



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