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The Baker and The Beauty (ABC) pilot preview: A hit in the baking?

SERIES TITLE: The Baker and The Beauty
NETWORK: ABC
GENRE: Romantic Dramedy

LOGLINE: The impossible Miami love story between a simple baker and an international superstar. Noa Hollander has it all: she’s the most famous woman in the country, the beautiful daughter of a real estate magnate, a successful model with an international career and, up until now, one half of a Hollywood power couple. The son of Cuban immigrants, Daniel Garcia, is a simple guy who still lives with his parents and works at the family bakery. A chance encounter at a fancy restaurant leads to unexpected sparks. Can their love survive her jet-setting lifestyle, her overbearing agent, his unworldly family, both their exes and the media?

Pilot Cast: Nathalie Kelley (Dynasty, Unreal, Vampire Diaries), Victor Rasuk (50 Shades of Grey, How to make it in America, Jack Ryan), Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal, The Comeback), Lisa Vidal (The Division, Being Mary Jane), Carlos Gomez (Madam Secretary, The Glades), Belissa Escobedo
Series Creator: Dean Georgaris (The Brave, The Meg, Paycheck).
Pilot Director: David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me, Entourage Manifest).
Producers: Dean Georgaris, David Frankel, Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott & Rachel Kaplan (Samantha Who?, Wisdom of the Crowd).

Studios: Universal Television, ABC Studios & Keshet Studios

Ever wonder how TV executives wade through the dozens of pilot scripts they’re pitched each year? They have staff script readers, who provide what’s called “Script Coverage,” an executive summary and a recommendation for each script. Now you too can preview some of the season’s most buzzed about pilots and find out whether we’d recommend them for pickup. Note that all opinions are our own, and all plot, casting and other creative details described here are subject to change.

 

  

You’ll Like It If You Already Like: Jane The Virgin, Ugly Betty, No Tomorrow, Notting Hill…

Likely Timeslot: An 8pm slot would be nice, but is any available? A pairing with The Bachelor in midseason or The Bachelorette in the summer would make a lot of sense otherwise!

 

WRITTEN BY: Dean Georgaris

PAGECOUNT: 62 pages

DRAFT: Studio Draft 8 / Network Draft 3 – 1/7/18

BACKGROUND: Of the many writers in Hollywood, it’s only the lucky few who get the chance to see their projects produced with a pilot order. In Dean Georgaris’ case, it’s not just one pilot, it’s two. In fact, this is the second time in three years that he’s written two projects that have gone to pilot in the same season. This year, he also has legal drama pilot Bluff City Law at NBC. In 2017, he had The Brave at NBC, which went to series, andLas Reinas at ABC, which was passed over. He seems to jump from one genre to another with ease. The Brave was an action thriller, Las Reinas a cop drama with a hint of family soap, Clementine a fantasy drama with a hint of thriller, while his movie The Meg was a horror thriller. To wit, The Baker and the Beauty is another wildly different beast: a romantic soap.

ABC has two pilots based on an Israeli formats this season, and both are romantic dramas: Until the Wedding, and this one. You may be familiar with the concept since the original The Baker and the Beauty ranks as one of the highest-rated scripted series ever in Israel – attracting an average 26.7% rating and consistently gaining viewers each episode. It aired in the UK on Channel 4, while Amazon picked up worldwide rights to it in 2017, with first two seasons currently available for streaming. The format has already been adapted in the Netherlands and other versions are said to be in the works in Greece and Russia.

 

SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: Change is coming to the Garcias, an immigrant family who own a small Cuban bakery in Miami. The patriarch, SANTIAGO (60), is trying to keep his head above water with mounting bills and a struggling business, along with the possible deportation of their son, MATEO (27), an aspiring DJ who can only get no-name gigs like his little sister’s high school dance. MARI (58), the matriarch, worries about her two boys, but less so about her daughter, NATALIE (15), who seemingly has it all together, but struggles with her in-the-closet sexual orientation and inability to fit in at her new elite school. Then there’s the oldest child, DANIEL (31, the titled Baker), having second thoughts about his relationship with his eager girlfriend of eight years, VANESSA (28), when an unexpected starlet NOA HOLLANDER (the titled Beauty) walks into his life. They meet in the toilets of a very fancy restaurant where Daniel may or may not propose to Vanessa -he doesn’t, she does it for him and he says no!- and where Noa is avoiding public speculation about a breakup from her Hollywood lover, who’s claiming the reports about him being unfaitfhful to her are false -they’re probably not- and he’s clearly not ready to let her go. Almost against his will, Daniel embarks on a long and eventful night with Noa and her girlfriends in the heat of Miami’s most selected areas…

COMMENTS: I came into this project with a good deal of skepticism. In concept, the story is strikingly similar to one of the most popular romantic comedies ever: Notting Hill. Rich and famous girl meets a humble boy, and they fall in love. It was done with such charm in the 1999 movie that it seems foolish to try to capture the same lightning in a bottle, especially without Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in tow. I have nothing against Nathalie Kelley & Victor Rasuk but… they’re not them. Trying to be diplomatic here (why the hell Pryianka Chopra is not the female lead???) And then I read the pilot script and I have to say I slowly but firmly understood why Israelis fell in love with it in the first place.

Then I read the pilot script, and I have to say I slowly but firmly began to understood why Israelis fell in love with this show. Forget Notting Hill, this is a show with its own charm and a definitive modernity — one that could appeal to a broad audience, from teenagers to their grandmothers. The pilot script is first and foremost about the Garcia family. Unlike the original, in this adaptation Daniel’s siblings are fleshed out, giving them backstories from the get-go, and interesting ones at that. Both parents are trying to make ends meet while caring for their kids. There’s the family bakery, the deportation threat (a common theme in several of this year’s crop of pilots), the closeted daughter, the loser son, and the long marriage that needs to be reingnited… In short, there’s enough fuel here for a great start.

Relatable themes of socioeconomic status and family will help the show resonate with viewers. And then there’s the central love story. On paper, it works quite well, but time will tell whether the show’s lead actors have the necessary chemistry to pull it off. As written, the characters themselves are totally charming. Daniel is an unassuming, somewhat bashful, rarely assertive young man — the total opposite of the latino macho guy that we often see on TV. He’s also cute as hell, with a chiseled body that’s shown for no reason other than pleasing the thirsty crowd. Noa is also beautiful, with all the traits you’d expect to find in an international superstar: she’s fickle, guarded and at times entitled, but a lot of fun too — and there’s a warmth to her underneath it all. She has a lot of love to give, she just doesn’t know how. Honestly, in the end, you can only root them and maybe that’s the most proeminent problem: even with the interpersonal conflits and secondary characters’ storylines, how long can you sustain a show based on a couple’s love story?

 

FINAL RECOMMENDATION: ABC had a long history of being No. 1 with women but they’ve lost that mantel the last two seasons to NBC. The network is determined to get it back and The Baker and the Beauty may very well be their best bet. It’s a entertaining, at times frivolous romantic comedy on the surface, but it also has a grittier side and some real things to say about the world we share. Is it a hit in the baking? It definitely has potential.

 

OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:

[  ] PASS
 ] CONSIDER
X ] RECOMMEND