Emmy Award winning actress Debra Messing stars in The Starter Wife, a sexy, savvy and wickedly funny tour de force, premiering on USA Network on Thursday, May 31 at 9p/8c through Thursday, June 28. This six-hour television event is directed by Jon Avnet (Fried Green Tomatoes) and features Emmy winner and Academy Award nominee Judy Davis ("Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadow"), Tony winner and Emmy winner Joe Mantegna (Joan of Arcadia), Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings), Peter Jacobson (As Good As It Gets), Stephen Moyer (Quills), Aden Young (The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course) and Chris Diamantopoulos (Boston Legal). The Starter Wife is about life after divorce and one woman's quest to redefine herself after years of marriage to a Hollywood studio head.
The Starter Wife, based on The New York Times best-selling Simon & Schuster novel from author Gigi Levangie Grazer ("Rescue Me," "Maneater"), features Messing as Molly Kagan, who after being blacklisted from premieres to pilates, searches to find life after divorce from her Hollywood mogul husband. A brief respite in Malibu and some oh-so-Hollywood friends prove to be the perfect cocktail for her transformation from "Starter Wife" to her new life.
Director Jon Avnet has directed and produced more than 50 motion pictures and television movies over the last 25 years, from box office hits like Risky Business and Fried Green Tomatoes to the critically acclaimed Uprising, The Burning Bed, and Heatwave for television. His work has won or been nominated for multiple Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Directors Guild of America awards, as well as Writers Guild of America awards, the Peabody, the Humanitas and CableACE awards. Last year, he produced the Tony Award winning "Spamalot," "The Pillowman," and Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Woman in White." He is most recently involved as a producer in the Broadway revival of "Inherit the Wind" starring Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy.
The Starter Wife is penned by Sara Parriott & Josann McGibbon, which marks their first foray together into television. Parriott & McGibbon are well known for their hit movie Runaway Bride, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. In addition, Parriott & McGibbon scripted The Favor starring Brad Pitt and Elizabeth McGovern (which they also co-produced), Three Men and a Little Lady and the adaptation of the novel "Worth Winning," starring Mark Harmon. In the animation world, Parriott & McGibbon's penned Disney's hit Chicken Little and continue their relationship with Disney Feature Animation having written Rapunzel Unbraided and Frankenweenie, an adaptation of Tim Burton's 1984 live action short, which Burton is in negotiations to direct.
Gigi Levangie Grazer, real-life wife of Imagine Entertainment co-owner and Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer, published her first novel, "Rescue Me," in June 2000, followed three years later by "Maneater," in June 2003. Her next book, "The Starter Wife," was published in June 2005 and recently, Grazer completed her fourth book, "Queen Takes King," which is set to hit bookshelves in September of this year. Simon & Schuster has published all four of Grazer's novels. In addition, Grazer has written four feature films including the screenplay Stepmom for Columbia Pictures, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Up next, Grazer is set to write the romantic comedy Prodigal Son for Universal and Imagine Entertainment.