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Netflix continues to get political.
The streamer, which already has an overall deal and multiple projects in the works with the Obamas, has won a multiple-outlet bidding war for The Girls on the Bus, a drama series inspired by a chapter from New York Times journalist Amy Chozick’s novel Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns and One Intact Glass Ceiling.
Julie Plec (Legacies) will pen the script alongside Chozick. Greg Berlanti will executive produce. The series, which ignited a fierce competition from streamers and premium cable networks, hails from Warner Bros. Television, Berlanti Productions and Plec’s My So-Called Company.
Unlike the book, the series will chronicle four female journalists who follow the 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 say that while the series is inspired by Chasing Hillary, the Netflix offering is not about Hillary Clinton or the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Netflix show title is an homage to The Boys on the Bus, the famed book about the men who used to dominate the campaign trail. The series will be a fictional story with all fictional characters.
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.
Berlanti Productions topper Sarah Schechter will exec produce for the company, which continues to build upon its impressive record number of scripted series currently in the works. With Girls on the Bus, Berlanti Productions’ scripted series now clocks in with 19 shows currently on the air across seven outlets, including four of five broadcast networks. Berlanti now has streaming shows on Netflix, with The Girls on the Bus joining You, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Warners-backed DC Universe (Titans, Doom Patrol, Stargirl) and HBO Max (The Flight Attendant). The broadcast lineup includes The CW’s Katy Keene, Batwoman, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lightning, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale and All American; Fox’s Prodigal Son; NBC’s Blindspot; and CBS’ God Friended Me. 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.
For Plec, Girls on the Bus expands the former development executive’s reach beyond The CW, where she currently exec produces The Vampire Diaries/The Originals spinoff Legacies and the sophomore reboot Roswell. The Netflix series is her latest collaboration with Berlanti, with whom she’s been friends since her sophomore year at Northwestern University. Plec, who officiated Berlanti’s wedding, 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.
The Girls on the Bus arrives as the White House has again become an increasingly timely source for scripted originals. Showtime recently announced development on the anthology series First Ladies, with the first season set to focus on Michelle Obama, among others, while Tyler Perry’s first BET series is also a soap, The Oval, that is set in the White House.
Plec is repped by Management 360 and attorney Eric Suddleson.
For more news and critical analysis, showrunner and executive interviews plus recommendations on what to watch, check out TV’s Top 5, the weekly podcast hosted by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Lesley Goldberg and Daniel Fienberg.
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