Showtime revels in 'Studio'


The 1970s era of disco, drugs and excess is coming back with "Studio," a drama series project for Showtime centering on the iconic New York nightclub Studio 54.

The project, from writer Chad Hodge and "Hairspray" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, is being produced by MRC.

Bryan Singer is in talks to direct the potential pilot if his schedule permits.

"Studio" centers on flamboyant co-founder Steve Rubell and starts off in the months leading to the club's April 1977 opening.

But "Studio," which is in development, will be a fictional series and not a biopic or docudrama. Rubell will be the only real person featured, with the rest of the characters fictional or composites.

"The show is less about the history of Studio 54 than it is about New York in the late '70s, what people were going through, the political and social issues," Hodge said. "Studio 54 is the backdrop for exploring that."

For Hodge, who was born the year the club opened, "Studio" has been a passion project: He's been fascinated with Studio 54 — or Studio, as it was commonly known — for a long time.

"When I was about 15, my uncle told me the story of the night he took my grandparents there, complete with all the unnecessary and inappropriate details," he said. "I was hooked (and never again could I look at my grandparents the same way)."

Hodge penned "Studio" on spec and took it to Zadan and Meron, who had given him his first writing job on their ABC series "Veritas."

Zadan and Meron, who had gone to Studio 54 with friend Liza Minnelli, loved the idea.

"It really was a time that has never been seen again," Zadan said. "Socially, politically, everything about it was unique."

Added Meron: "It was the last hurrah before the era of AIDS."

"Studio" also will tap Zadan and Meron's strong musical background. "Music is going to be a very big part of the show," Meron said.

Because of Studio 54's history of hedonism — it was notorious for rampant sex and drug use — Hodge, Zadan and Meron took the project to Showtime, where they felt they could best tell the gritty story.

The trio, which executive produces "Studio," said they've been encouraged by the wide acceptance and accolades for another dark period drama, AMC's "Mad Men."

Singer and his producing partner Alex Garcia would exec produce.

"Studio" was packaged by WMA. Additionally, Hodge is repped by attorney Michael Fuller, Zaden and Meron are repped by attorney Gregg Gelman and Singer is repped by attorney Dave Feldman. (partialdiff)