ABC is looking to turn the 2002 Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan into an hour-long dramedy. But which "maid" in which "Manhattan?"
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series—which Lopez would co-executive produce—wouldn’t be a remake of the film so much as a rethinking of the tale of a young Latina from the Bronx who works at an upscale Manhattan hotel. The perfect-world hope would be for Maid to work well alongside the network’s hit Ugly Betty.
Some differences between the film and the series are already clear: nix the “struggling single mom” plotline from the film, along with Ralph Fiennes’ politician character; replace with young Latina relating to co-workers and trying to make it in this world, a la the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Other shifts are a little vague. Show writer Chad Hodge explains the plot differences this way: “The show is a different maid in a different Manhattan.”
It leads one to wonder if Hodge’s Manhattan will be “TV NYC” as opposed to “Movie NYC.”
The latter seems to be a magical place where fireworks can erupt spontaneously, you can see the outline of a heart in lights on the Empire State Building and hotel concierges are never too busy to help a good-hearted prostitute.
TV NYC, of course, is a different kind of magical place, where people who make very little money live in gorgeous knick knack-filled apartments among wacky/friendly/naked neighbors.
Or perhaps it’ll be an utterly different Manhattan. Hodge, who has written for Tru Calling and penned some ABC Family romantic comedies, says the series will focus on the backroom relationships among the hotel staff—something he says he relates to.
“I imagine being a writer in Hollywood is often very similar to being a maid in Manhattan,” he says.
It’s an interesting, if utterly confounding claim. Life as a Hollywood writer, then, is very much like spending hours each day, dancing gloriously around mirror-image rooms, knocking a screaming vacuum against the wood base of a platform bed? If I’m in a strange new city and I need a small tube of toothpaste at midnight, might I call a local would-be screenwriter? Or will he or she be too tired from washing towels?
Hodge is also working on a Studio 54-themed drama for Showtime…which leads us to wonder if life as a writer in Hollywood also compares to life as a bathroom attendant at a chic club.
By Robert Edelstein