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The Girls on the Bus is changing bus stops.
Two years after the adaptation of New York Times journalist Amy Chozick’s novel Chasing Hillary landed at Netflix following a multiple-outlet bidding war, the drama inspired by a chapter of the novel has landed at The CW.
Currently back in the development stage, The Girls on the Bus chronicles four female journalists who follow every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates, finding friendship, love and a scandal that could take down not just the presidency but our entire democracy along the way. Sources caution that the potential series is not about Hillary Clinton or the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) and Chozick remain attached to pen the script, which is now being recalibrated for The CW audience. Greg Berlanti and his Berlanti Productions partner Sarah Schechter and head of television David Madden will all exec produce. The project hails from Warner Bros. TV, where Berlanti is under a massive $400 million overall TV deal. Plec, who moved her overall deal to Universal TV after a long tenure at WBTV, has a carve out for Girls on the Bus via her My So-Called Company banner.
Sources say Netflix quietly dropped Girls on the Bus last year after landing the project following a fierce bidding war. The drama, which had a production commitment and was beginning to cast at when the pandemic hit, was ultimately dropped as part of the streamer’s regime change from Cindy Holland (who bought it) to Bela Bajaria (who dropped it). Sources note that the political backdrop of the series was part of the reason Netflix ultimately bailed on the project. (Netflix did not return THR‘s request for comment.)
Published in April 2018, Chasing Hillary tells the story of the 2016 presidential election that saw former first lady and secretary of state Clinton’s attempt to become the first woman to serve as president of the United States end in defeat to Republican Donald Trump. Chozick chronicled Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency dating back to her failed 2008 campaign. Chozick reported from Clinton’s campaign bus and inside its Brooklyn headquarters, following the candidate through 48 states to tell the story of what really happened.
Girls on the Bus brings Berlanti back to the political forum after the USA Network limited series Political Animals, which featured Sigourney Weaver playing a Hillary Clinton-like character. Girls on the Bus also marks Plec’s latest collaboration with Berlanti, with whom she’s been friends since her sophomore year at Northwestern University. Plec, who officiated Berlanti’s wedding, also worked with him during her time as a development exec for Kevin Williamson on Dawson’s Creek. Together, they both executive produced The CW’s short-lived The Tomorrow People. In addition to Girls on the Bus, Plec remains an exec producer of The CW’s Legacies and Roswell, and also has Peacock’s Vampire Academy in the works via her UTV deal.
The Girls on the Bus comes to The CW as the White House continues to be a timely source for scripted originals. FX is about to launch Impeachment: American Crime Story, the Monica Lewinsky-themed season of the Ryan Murphy anthology; and Showtime is in production on anthology series First Ladies, with the first season set to focus on Michelle Obama, among others.
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