When Sarah Michelle Gellar signed up to reprise her role from Cruel Intentions for a new NBC series, it was widely assumed that the TV spin-off would have no trouble picking up a series order from the network. That wasn’t the case as the reboot wasn't included in NBC’s Winter schedule and it was believed that the project was dead in the water. Then NBC did something unexpected and extended its contracts with Gellar and the rest of the cast with plans to rework the pilot.
Speaking at the recent Television Critics Association Press Tour, NBC president Jennifer Salke has offered an update and revealed that two versions of the pilot will be developed.
“I think there would be two versions of the show, and, of course, if it ends up on some alternative platform, we would have more leeway. But it is designed to be dishy and fun and sort of push the envelope as far as sexuality. It’s not something we’re inviting kids in to watch.”
What this effectively means is that a broadcast-friendly version as well as a saucer NSFW version will be produced, and NBC will see which one plays best. The tone of the 1999 movie (based on Dangerous Liaisons) isn’t exactly network television safe, and a diluted version wouldn’t go down well with the fans. Even though NBC pushed the envelope for three seasons of Hannibal, the salacious nature of Cruel Intentions might be too difficult to skate around.
Salke also commented on why they have paused for thought before ordering Cruel Intentions to series
“It was really a space issue. We had a spot for a big, great soap, and This Is Us seemed to fit better. So we started looking for opportunities in midseason, possibly summer for the show. We [also] started talking about the OTT [streaming] platform that you heard was looming. So we right now we wanted to make sure we have the show, because I’m determined to find a place to put it.”
It remains unclear if the racier version is being eyed for streaming on NBC’s digital platform or if the plan is to shop the series to Netflix or Amazon. The Cruel Intentions series is set 15 years on from the movie and is being developed by the movie’s writer/director Roger Kumble.