October 14, 2013
Meg Ryan comes to the small screen as a book editor
by Nick Davies
Defying reports from earlier this month that Meg Ryan had more or less retired from show business in order to enjoy a quiet life with her children and boyfriend John Cougar Mellencamp, the Hollywood Reporter announced last week that the onetime romantic comedy star has signed on to produce and star in a television series, in which Ryan will play a book editor.
The world of book publishing hasn’t had much representation on TV. Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes worked as an editor at Pendant Publishing, but more memorably wrote copy for the fictional J. Peterman catalog. Some shows, including Sex and the City and 30 Rock, have brushed up against the industry when characters have penned books, but only in passing. Most recently, Lena Dunham’s character on Girls worked as an intern for a publisher, but only for one scene before she quit (with the books of a certain indie publisher clearly visible in the background). The closest we book people have come to having a show about our line of work, though, came a few years ago with the pilot for Open Books, starring Patti LuPone—which was ultimately not picked up by CBS.
From Lesley Goldberg’s article in the Reporter, it doesn’t sound like the new show will exactly be focused on the publishing workplace, but it will provide some of the conflict and intrigue:
Ryan will play a sunny, devoted and desperately nonconfrontational single mom who decides to return to her New York publishing house where she was once a brilliant editor to find that she now works for Brenda, a neurotic 30-year-old who was once her former intern. Now she must find a way to keep her boss, her teenage kids, her almost ex-husband and her meddlesome mother-in-law all happy, which results in her overcomplicating every situation and somehow always making it worse.
Some well-worn sitcom territory, to be sure, but it will be interesting to see if a big name like Ryan could attract viewers to a show at least partially set at a book publisher. And of course, it’s not her first foray into the world of book nerds; she famously played the owner of The Shop Around the Corner, the tiny indie bookstore threatened by the giant chains, in You’ve Got Mail (a film MobyLives took heated issue with at the time). The show, as yet without an announced title, is being made for NBC.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.