Bette Midler to Star in Remotely Shot HBO Special From Jay Roach

Bette Midler and Jay Roach-Split H 2020
Courtesy of HBO; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

HBO is going deeper into the remote production business, greenlighting a star-studded special from director Jay Roach and writer Paul Rudnick.

The special, Coastal Elites, will star Bette Midler, Kaitlyn Dever, Issa Rae, Dan Levy and Sarah Paulson. Produced entirely under quarantine, it will feature characters from New York and Los Angeles who are coping with politics and the coronavirus pandemic and tell stories of breaking down and breaking through in the summer of 2020. It's set to premiere in September.

"Paul Rudnick and Jay Roach bring their razor-sharp perspective and wit to HBO," said HBO Programming president Casey Bloys. "We are thrilled to partner with them in telling this story, which is uniquely resonant for these times."

Coastal Elites will explore the current world of deeply divided politics and the universal pursuit of human connection through a series of confessionals from five main characters. It's the first remote scripted production for HBO; the premium cabler's weekly late night shows Real Time With Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver have been filming remotely since April, as has Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.

The special extends Roach's long-standing relationship with HBO. The director previously helmed Recount, Game Change and All the Way for HBO and executive produced the 2015 series The Brink.

Roach executive produces with Rudnick (In & Out, Jeffrey, Addams Family Values), Jeffrey Seller, Flody Suarez, Scott Chaloff and Michelle Graham.