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The Lakers are taking on the Lakers and Netflix and HBO continue to duel.
Streaming giant Netflix has gone straight to series on an untitled workplace comedy inspired by the front office of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. Team president Jeanie Buss is attached to exec produce the Mindy Kaling-produced workplace comedy that is inspired by the 17-time NBA champion’s family owners and front office.
Netflix describes the series — which comes as HBO is mounting a scripted drama following the team’s historic 1980s squad known as “Showtime” — as following Eliza Reed, the governor of a fictional team, as she navigates NBA ownership and family drama with her best friend by her side.
Modern Family grad Elaine Ko will pen the script, exec produce and serve as showrunner on the 10-episode comedy. Kaling, who already has comedy Never Have I Ever set up at Netflix, will exec produce the series via her overall deal with studio Warner Bros. Television. 3 Arts’ Howard Klein (The Mindy Project, The Office) will also exec produce.
Buss, who serves as the controlling owner of the Lakers after her father, Jerry Buss, passed away, will also exec produce alongside Linda Rambis, who serves as the team’s exec director. Rambis, one of Buss’ closest friends, has worked for the team since 1979 and is married to former Laker and four-time NBA champ Kurt Rambis. Jordan Rambis, the son of Kurt and Linda and the head of development at Imprezario Entertainment, will also exec produce the series.
With the involvement of Buss and the Rambis family, the Netflix comedy has one thing the HBO series doesn’t: the participation of the Lakers. The HBO series, which remains untitled after previously going by the working title of Showtime, is inspired by Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. The series, from Adam McKay (Succession) and Max Borenstein, stars John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Sally Field as Jessie Buss and Hadley Robinson (Moxie) as Jeanie Buss. (Here’s the full cast.)
Netflix and HBO have long been in a battle for bragging rights in the TV industry as the free-spending streamer has challenged the premium cable network’s Emmy haul for the past few years.
The Lakers continue to be one of the sports world’s most dominant and beloved teams around the globe. To that end, Disney-owned Hulu is also readying an untitled Lakers docuseries with Jeanie Buss and Antoine Fuqua exec producing.
The Lakers comedy is Kaling’s second scripted series at Netflix and fourth overall, joining HBO Max’s The Sex Lives of College Girls and WarnerMedia-backed streamer’s animated Scooby-Doo offshoot, Velma (where she will also voice the title role).
For Ko’s part, she was a writer and exec producer of ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family and earned a WGA Award for episodic comedy for an episode she penned.
Kaling is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Ziffren Brittenham. Ko, whose credits also include Family Guy and Back to You, is with UTA.
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