This ^ is a photo of Meghan Markle with her then-husband, a man named Trevor Engelson. Trevor Engelson sounds like the name of a British bloke, but Engleson is American. He and Meghan were married in 2011 and divorced two years later, in 2013. Those dates make it sound like a fly-by-night starter marriage, but it’s worth noting that Trevor and Meghan met in 2004 and were together for many years before tying the knot. Most sources now say that Trevor and Meghan just sort of fell apart, what with two bustling careers and lots of traveling and too much time apart. Engelson is a producer of film and television, and I have no idea if he and Meghan are still in contact, or if they have any kind of friendly or not-so-friendly relationship at this point. But I suspect that they will not be speaking after this: Engelson is creating and producing a very, very shady TV show about an American woman who runs off and marries a British prince, and she and her ex-husband have to share custody of their kid.
This is certain to be the most talked about project this broadcast development season. Fox has given a big put pilot commitment to a single-camera comedy from Modern Family executive producer Danny Zuker and producers Trevor Engelson (Snowfall), Jake Kasdan (New Girl) and Dan Farah (The Shannara Chronicles). It is the untitled project’s premise that will get attention on both sides of the Atlantic: Divorce is hard. Sharing custody is harder. Sharing custody with the British Royal family when your wife marries a prince, in the unforgiving spotlight of London’s tabloid media, is next level.
That is because Engelson is the ex-husband of actress Meghan Markle who has been dating Britain’s Prince Harry. It should be noted that the comedy is fictional, the lead characters are not based on Markle or Engelson, who have no kids together, and she has had no involvement in the project. Still, it is fair to say that the show was inspired by real-life events.
The comedy originated with Engelson and fellow producer Farah who, in a conversation, mused about what would’ve been if Engelson and Markle had kids and he had to share custody with the British Royal family one day. The two liked the idea as a potential TV series which they pitched to WME. The agency packaged it up to sell to 20th TV with studio-based clients; Modern Family executive producer Danny Zuker, who was brought on to write, producer-director Jake Kasdan and his producing partner Melvin Mar, and British TV director Christine Gernon (Speechless) who was tapped to direct.
There was a lot of curiosity about the project among the broadcast networks, which wanted to hear the pitch. 20th TV sibling Fox, which had first dibs, bought the comedy on the spot with what is believed to be the biggest commitment for a comedy pitch at the network so far this season.
This is gross. But it’s also sort of normal in the world of Windsors, or any royal family for that matter. We talk about the Middletons and how they seem like grasping social climbers, but really, the Middletons are one of the most successful royal-adjacent families in the history of royal gossip. When a royal prince or princess marries a “commoner,” all types of unsavory figures come out of the woodwork, wanting to get their piece of the pie (the pie being money, attention, or ruination). Will the Windsors “blame” Meghan for this? No. And while Fox is paying a lot of money for this, I don’t really see how this will be a must-watch show. Trevor is the one who looks like a a–hole, not Meghan. At least I hope so.
Also: Meghan’s shady brother came forward last week to encourage Harry to marry Meghan. Blah.
Photos courtesy of Getty.