‘Monarch’: Everything We Know About FOX’s Upcoming Series About Country Music

by Jennifer Shea

In an evolution for FOX, “Monarch” is getting a 12-episode order. The show is the first live-action scripted series fully owned by the network since 20th Television was sold to Disney.

“Monarch” is about a fictional first family of country music who are very talented. However, their success is based on a lie. The multigenerational musical drama follows the Romans, a family who have made their name synonymous with honesty.

But their status as country royalty is soon jeopardized. And then the heir apparent, Nicky Roman, must face off against an industry that has it in for her, Deadline reports.

The series is the brainchild of Melissa London Hilfers, who will write and executive produce. It’s an hour-long drama. And it is being developed using Fox’s script-to-series model, which relies on a writers’ room.

‘Monarch’ Got a Straight-to-Series Order from FOX

FOX first bought Hilfers’ project in September of 2019. It opened the writers’ room in August of 2020. That was all done with this straight-to-series order in mind.

Michael Rauch, creator of “Instinct” and executive producer of “Royal Pains,” supervised the writers’ room. He will serve as showrunner and executive producer.

Also executive producing are Gail Berman, Hend Baghdady and Sandbox Entertainment’s Jason Owen. Owen is a prominent country music manager who represents clients like Faith Hill, Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves. Some of his clients and industry connections are likely to appear on the show.

The show also made headlines on September 7 when it announced that Susan Sarandon and Anna Friel would star in the show. Sarandon is a household name thanks to Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma & Louise and many more projects, and she makes for an instant eye-catching addition.

FOX Expanding Its Fully Owned Offerings, Opting for Year-Round Development

Meanwhile, FOX is reportedly shifting towards a year-round development cycle and away from the traditional pilot cycle. This project represents another step in that transition.

The network does have fully owned animation projects, including a Dan Harmon-created series that uses ancient Greek myths as its backdrop. Since launching FOX Alternative Entertainment, FOX also has fully owned non-scripted projects. “Monarch” is its first fully owned scripted live-action project.

“Monarch” also represents the realization of another plan at FOX: an expansion of music-driven programming. After finding success with hits like “The Masked Singer” and “American Idol,” the network moved to make music a bigger part of its offerings.

“Music-driven programming is a big part of the DNA of FOX’s success with shows like ‘The Masked Singer,’ ‘Empire,’ ‘American Idol’ and ‘Glee,’” Fox Entertainment President Michael Thorn told Deadline in 2020. “We have been looking for new ways to tell stories with music; what’s the next chapter for us in terms of a juicy drama that incorporates music in the storytelling.”