11:33am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Starz Orders Steven Soderbergh Comedy 'Now Apocalypse'
Steven Soderbergh is expanding his relationship with Starz.
The premium cable network has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for the half-hour comedy Now Apocalypse, which hails from the Girlfriend Experience executive producer.
Created and exec produced by Gregg Araki (Kaboom), the coming-of-age comedy follows Ulysses and his friends Carly, Ford and Severine, who are on various quests pursing love, sex and fame. Now Apocalypse explores identity, sexuality and artistry while navigating the strange and oftentimes bewildering city of Los Angeles. Between sexual and romantic dating app adventures, Ulysses grows increasingly troubled as foreboding premonitory dreams make him wonder — is some kind of dark and monstrous conspiracy going on, or is he just smoking too much weed?
Araki will co-write and direct all 10 episodes of what Starz describes as a fast-moving series that has a "flipside of mythic, dreamlike creepiness." Soderbergh will exec produce alongside Araki and Gregory Jacobs (Magic Mike XXL, Amazon's Red Oaks). Karley Sciortino, who created and hosts Viceland's Slutever, will co-write the series. Sciortino, author and Vogue.com sex columnist, will be credited as a consulting producer on the series. Casting for the project has not been determined.
"If this isn’t the craziest thing I’ve ever read, it’s tied for first,” said Oscar- and Emmy-winning executive producer Soderbergh (Logan Lucky, The Knick). "We will not be responsible for people’s heads splitting in half when they see it."
Starz will retain domestic multiplatform pay TV and SVOD rights to the Lionsgate Television-produced series. Lionsgate will retain international, domestic distribution and home entertainment rights.
"Gregg brings an incredibly unique and adventurous story to the Starz brand and we cannot wait for the world to meet the bold, sexy and fun characters of Now Apocalypse,” said Starz programming president Carmi Zlotnik. "It’s exciting to bring diverse and compelling storytelling to the screen as part of Starz’s ongoing programming strategy to provide premium content to reach underserved audiences.”
Now Apocalypse becomes Soderbergh's latest TV effort following Cinemax's The Knick, Netflix's Godless, HBO's Mosaic and Starz's The Girlfriend Experience. He previously worked with Jacobs on Amazon's Red Oaks.
Now Apocalypse joins a roster of Starz originals including half-hour shows Sweetbitter and Vida as well as American Gods, Ash vs. Evil Dead, The Girlfriend Experience, The Missing, Counterpart, Outlander, Power, Howard's End and The Rook.
Soderbergh is repped by Anonymous Content and Lichter Grossman.