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The premium cable network is reteaming with Adam McKay (Succession, Vice) for a scripted drama based on author Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Max Borenstein (Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, AMC’s The Terror) will pen the script for the project, which has been picked up with a pilot order from HBO. Jim Hecht (Ice Age: The Meltdown) will co-write the story.
Showtime marks the first project for McKay after splitting with longtime producing partner Will Ferrell. McKay and Kevin Messick will executive produce for the former’s currently unnamed new company. McKay will also direct the pilot, which is already exploring casting options for actors to take on the roles of former NBA favorites Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and head coach Pat Riley.
Borenstein, Hecht and Jason Shuman will also be credited as EPs on the drama, which HBO describes as a fast-break series chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.
“Jeff Pearlman’s book and Max Borenstein’s script of the story of the Showtime Lakers really knocked me over. Sexism, racism, tragedy, redemption, no-look passes and a giant cultural shift in America… I can’t wait to start filming,” McKay said Tuesday in a statement.
The 1980s Lakers, featuring a run-and-gun style of play led by perennial All-Stars Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar, won five NBA championships.
The Showtime pilot order arrives a day after HBO picked up Armando Iannucci’s space comedy Avenue 5 to series. Showtime is now the pay cabler’s second pilot in the works and joins the Game of Thrones prequel, which is fully expected to go to series. HBO, under new corporate parent WarnerMedia, is under a larger mandate to increase originals as the premium cable network will be the crown jewel of WarnerMedia’s forthcoming streaming platform. (That unnamed platform — details of which have not officially been presented — is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year.)
Showtime expands HBO’s relationship with McKay, who directed the pilot and executive produces the breakout hit Succession. His TV credits include HBO’s Eastbound & Down and Hulu’s I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman. On the feature side, the writer, director and producer earned eight Oscar nominations for Vice. McKay is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.
Borenstein, who counts Fox’s Minority Report reboot among his TV credits, next has season two of AMC’s The Terror due. He is with UTA, Anonymous Content and attorney Eric Feig.
Hecht, who will next pen the script for Fairy Tale Ending for Universal, is repped by WME, Gotham Group and Del Shaw.
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