For the 2016-2017 TV season, ABC decided to dive back into the world of legal procedurals with Conviction, with British actress Hayley Atwell leading the charge. (Or the reversal of the charge, in this case.) Unfortunately for all involved, the drama was not a very big hit for the network during its first season, which was intentionally kept to just 13 episodes. But regardless of if Conviction gets renewed or cancelled, Atwell has already signed on for her next big TV role, a presumably lush miniseries based on the classic novel Howard's End.
Howard's End, first published in 1910 and written by E.M. Forster, will make its latest foray to the small screen as a co-production between prestigious cabler Starz and (unsurprisingly) the BBC. In the limited drama, Hayley Atwell will take on the role of Margaret Schlegel, the eldest sister in a trio of highly intelligent and classy sister at the heart of the narrative, which depicts the similarities and differences of three different families of vastly differing social classes.
In the story, Margaret is set to enter into the wealthy and standoffish Wilcox family via her engagement to young suitor Henry, which sets about a clash of personalities that has reverberations across not only their two families, but also the working class Bast family, via some salacious incidents from the past. For Starz and the BBC's Howard's End, Howard will be portrayed by Ripper Street's Matthew Macfadyen, while Margaret's Aunt Juley will be played by sketch comedy legend Tracey Ullman. Those were the only cast members mentioned, but that's definitely a solid start.
Hayley Atwell, who won't necessarily run into schedule problems if Conviction Season 2 happens, will be directed in Howard's End by TV vet Hettie Macdonald, who most recently episodes of Doctor Who and Pivot's Fortitude. This will notably be the first TV project created by famed playwright Kenneth Lonergan, who made big waves in 2016 as the Oscar-nominated writer and director of the acclaimed drama Manchester by the Sea.
Considering Howard's End is only going to be four episodes long, Hayley Atwell's casting might not ordinarily be an indication of another series' future, but Conviction is already pretty comfortable on the cancellation bubble right now, having ended its 13-episode first season at the end of January. After a soft debut, Conviction's ratings bounced around for a while before taking a notable plunge following the short winter hiatus. And in the middle of that, ABC announced that no more episodes would be ordered, keeping the episode count to that of a midseason series. That wasn't a good sign, but ABC also hasn't directly cancelled Conviction yet, so the option remains open for the legal drama to return as a legit midseason entry in early 2018. (Though Emily Kinney's new gig might also throw a wrench into the works.)
Production for Howard's End, which has notably already been produced as a British miniseries as well as a 1992 feature, will be set in London later this year, and a release date will come from Starz at some point in the future as well. In the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what's coming to the small screen in the near future.