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Nicholas Sparks Is Making A Show About Nicholas Sparks, Not About Sappy Love

Nicholas Sparks is a man known for one thing: sappy love stories that somehow manage to both reduce audiences to tears and win them over as fans for life. He cornered the market of the genre as a best-selling author, as well as with his big screen adaptations. It therefore comes as no surprise that he’s made the jump to the small screen. What is slightly surprising is that Sparks will be branching out from his typical subject matter for his new project, entitled The Next Chapter. In fact, Nicholas Sparks’ new project for ABC will actually be about…well, Nicholas Sparks.

Sort of.

The Next Chapter will center on the life of top-selling romantic novelist Ben Diamond, who is modeled after Sparks. Deadline reports that following a divorce that forces him to deal with the public fallout as his image as an expert on love is tarnished, Ben must figure out his own feelings toward romance as he begins a life after the end of his marriage. Sparks is set to exectuive produce the project, along with Theresa Park and Austin Winsberg.

Suffice it to say, The Next Chapter will probably not be featuring many couples making out in the rain or vowing their eternal love or cursing cruel fate for tearing them apart to a swelling soundtrack. The plot of the new half-hour comedy certainly doesn’t sound like it has been drawn from a deleted chapter of A Walk to Remember or a post-credits sequence from The Notebook. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that it comes from Nicholas Sparks himself.

Sparks rocked the world – well, the world of pop culture, anyway – in early 2015 when the man who has crafted some of the most popular romances of recent years announced a separation from his wife of two and a half decades.

It was kind of a bummer to Nicholas Sparks fans, but it looks as though Sparks himself has hit the ground running with mining his new life for meaty material for a series. The Next Chapter is still in the early stages of development, with no casting or premiere date yet announced. The writing duties have fallen to Winsberg, who is best known for his small screen work on Gossip Girl and The Sound Of Music Live! He’ll be pulling double duty with The Next Chapter as he works on a music-themed series for ABC Family.

Fortunately for fans of Nicholas Sparks’ traditional works, he has an adaptation of The Notebook in the works for The CW in addition to The Next Chapter for ABC. For viewers looking to laugh rather than dissolve into weekly tears for seven months out of the year, however, The Next Chapter may be a fun alternative to any of the old-fashioned sappy love stories that we’ve come to expect of Nicholas Sparks. Besides, he was going to either need to branch out from his typical genre or start a special brand of extra absorbent tissues to sell at movie theaters. Who knows? The Next Chapter may well end up being one of Nicholas Sparks’ greatest successes.

Laura Hurley

Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.