3:45pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Grey's Anatomy' Boss Making Erin Brockovich TV Series for ABC
Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff is bringing activist Erin Brockovich's life to the small screen.
Vernoff is teaming with Brockovich for an ABC drama called Rebel that focuses on what life has been life for the legal consultant some 20 years after Julia Roberts brought her story to the big screen in 2000's Erin Brockovich.
Rebel, which has received a put-pilot commitment from the Disney-owned network, is inspired by Brockovich's life today. Two decades after the Steven Soderbergh and Susannah Grant feature film made her famous, Annie "Rebel" Rebelsky is still working as a legal consultant without a law degree. The project is described as revolving around a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless real-life superhero who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves — when Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.
Vernoff will pen the script and executive produce the drama alongside Brockovich. The potential series is a co-production between ABC Studios — where Vernoff's newly launched Trip the Light Productions is under an overall deal — and Sony Pictures Television-based John Davis and John Fox's Davis Entertainment. Trip the Light president of production and development (and Vernoff's husband) Alexandre Schmitt will also exec produce for the company. Davis Entertainment's Mike Stein will serve as a co-EP.
Erin Brockovich earned Roberts an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and other honors. The film, which was Oscar-nominated for best picture, followed the single mother of three who was instrumental in building a case against Pacific Gas and Electric in the early '90s. Brockovich did so without any legal training.
For Vernoff, this is the first project to stem from the multiyear overall deal she signed in January. Together with Schmitt, the duo launched Trip the Light Productions. Vernoff has increasingly become among ABC's most important showrunners. After rejoining Grey's Anatomy a few seasons ago to help fill the day-to-day void brought about by creator Shonda Rhimes' departure for Netflix, she helped revive the medical soap to become ABC's No. 1 drama. Grey's Anatomy is currently in its 16th season and has already been picked up for a 17th. Additionally, Vernoff was tapped last summer to serve as showrunner and revive Station 19, ABC's struggling firefighter-focused Grey's Anatomy spinoff.