Fall TV Preview

Trophy Wife EP: ABC Gave Us No Cougar Town- Style Pushback on Provocative Title

Trophy Wife Title ControversyTrophy Wife is a perfect marriage of concept and title — one both the new sitcom’s producers and ABC are quite comfortable with, it was explained Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

RELATED | Read TVLine’s Fall TV First Impression of Trophy Wife

After stating that “Trophy Wife” is meant to be “ironic” (since Malin Akerman’s party girl-turned-Bradley Whitford’s third Mrs. is much more than some shiny arm candy), EP Lee Eisenberg told TVLine that ABC never expressed any Cougar Town-style concerns about the title being too provocative and not 100-percent representative of the actual content.

“It was always a conversation that we had with them, but collectively we never felt like we had a title that beat it,” he said. “We kicked around titles the way you always do, and it always came back to Trophy Wife. It’s simple, it’s clean it’s memorable.

“We suspected that people might have certain expectations about it,” Eisenberg added, “but ultimately in success a show is a show and the title melts away a little bit. We won’t win or lose because of the title.”

RELATED | Once Upon a Time‘s Snow White Joins ABC’s Trophy Wife

Series star Akerman, for her part, had a distinct initial reaction to the title. “I saw [it] and said, ‘Aw, hell no, I’m not playing a trophy wife,'” she shared. “But I read it and it was brilliant.”

As series cocreator EP Sarah Haskins — on whose own marriage Trophy Wife is based — noted, “Kate is going to face the challenge of how other people see her,” including at least one of husband Pete’s exes, a Type-A surgeon played by Marcia Gay Harden.

“We’re not watching the story of a sexist who cycles through wives,” Haskins stressed. “We’re watching the story of a family.”

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  1. Rebecca Parker says:

    Of course they didn’t give them pushback. “Cougar Town” insinuates that the woman is in power, “Trophy Wife” insinuates that the man is.

    • Nick C says:

      men are evil.

      • Rebecca Parker says:

        That wasn’t at all what I said or even what I was insinuating. It isn’t that men are evil, it’s that people don’t feel comfortable with women in power and/or empowered.

        • neha says:

          I agree. I can’t image a show title like “Trophy Husband” or “Desperate Husbands” ever getting passed. But, who knows?

    • Bryce says:

      Damn I’m a feminist and all but that’s some overanalyzing. I think what they’re saying is that Cougar Town was not representative of the show and Trophy Wife is because that’s how people will view the main character. Even before watching the trailer I had an idea the title wouldn’t be without a bit of sarcasm. Plus, I don’t think people view cougars as powerful but often-times Desparate rather.

      • Rebecca Parker says:

        ” Plus, I don’t think people view cougars as powerful but often-times Desparate rather.”

        That’s part of my point. “Cougars” are women who are assertive sexually and go after younger men. That’s seen as desperate by many people, yes. But an older male who does the same is applauded. It’s just a double standard.

        And this is putting aside that “Cougar Town” is not about Cougars…

    • liz says:

      Nice analysis! (Totally going to steal it and use in one of my classes)

  2. Fe says:

    Two words: MALIKN ACKERMAN

  3. Pamela says:

    Neat! Love Bradley Whitford. Love Malin Ackerman. Should be an interesting show. Looking forward to it1

  4. Tom says:

    Interesting concept. It’s the first thing I will ever see her in that she is not completely naked (like her movies).

    Is this supposed to be a comedy or a drama?