'Orange Is the New Black' Sets Prison-Theme TV Trend & NBC Is the First to Cash In

For the past few years, there have been a couple of surefire ways to make money in the entertainment industry: write a script about vampires, write a script about zombies, or follow some rich people around with a camera (but we'll leave that last one aside for now, because reality TV isn't losing its audience anytime soon).

We've been lusting after TV vamps since our Buffy days, but when NBC announced their new fall series Dracula, the trend had officially jumped the shark. As for zombies, they really only made it into mainstream pop culture long enough to become tired — once Hollywood ran out of zombie plots and The Walking Dead lost its hold on critical acclaim, the genre pretty much ran out of options.

Luckily for unoriginal TV writers everywhere, though, Netflix's wildly popular and socially relevant Orange Is the New Black has acted as the perfect launch pad for a new, easily duplicated television trend: the prison drama. 

Prison being as inherently dramatic as it is, life behind bars has been a common plot point on TV for decades (in fact, Australian drama The Prisoner focused in on relationships among female prisoners in the '80s, almost 20 years before Piper Kerman served time). But with a show as groundbreaking and widely appreciated as OITNB has been, the prison genre has a whole new fan base to work with — and TV's biggest networks are ready to start cashing in.

Reports have been made that NBC recently ordered a put pilot (a pilot that's already confirmed to air) for a new drama set in late 21st century Las Vegas — known in the future as Paradise, the world's largest maximum-security prison. Diverging from OITNB's attention to Piper's relationships and personal developments while serving her sentence for a crime she undoubtedly committed, this show will follow its main character, Dr. Matthew Turner, as he tries to escape from Paradise under the belief that he's been falsely accused. 

The unnamed show's script will be penned by screenwriter and novelist Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Greg Berlanti (Political Animals). It will be produced by Warner Bros. TV, and hopefully won't mean the tragically early death of the prison drama era.

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