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Sources say the project, which is in the early development stages, will be written and exec produced by Robinson (Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, The L Word).
Sources say Abrams and his Bad Robot partner/wife Katie McGrath personally recruited Robinson to Warner Bros. TV so she could write and supervise Madame X. Abrams and McGrath — whose Bad Robot is also based at WarnerMedia with a $250 million overall deal — after the former got to know Robinson through Time’s Up. Robinson is on the global leadership board at the organization, while McGrath serves as the co-secretary on its governing board of directors.
Paramount TV Studios, where Robinson was formerly housed with a long-term overall deal, bid hard to keep Robinson but ultimately bowed out when Warners came back with a higher offer driven by Bad Robot’s influence. Robinson’s Warners deal is said to be worth in the low eight-figure range.
Still, Robinson does have a carve-out in her Warners deal that allows her to continue to be involved with the Flashdance update she was developing for Paramount TV Studios and Paramount+.
Madame X (aka Madame Xanadu) first appeared in the DC Comics universe back in 1978 and is part of the Justice League Dark universe. The character is a sorceress who has helped the Suicide Squad and serves as Spectre’s spiritual adviser and, in DC’s The New 52, assists the Dark League and was revealed to be the mother of villain Doctor Destiny. (See the character below.)
Abrams and Bad Robot are in various stages of development on multiple series for HBO Max, including a Justice League Dark franchise that is being designed to feature multiple spinoffs as part of a larger connected world similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As part of the Justice League Dark plans, Bad Robot is also prepping a Constantine series, with Madame X also likely to be part of that larger franchise. He’s also teaming with Matt Reeves for an animated Batman series for the streamer. (Abrams and Bad Robot are also producing a new Superman film, which will feature a Black lead, for DC and Warners’ film arm.)
Outside of DC fare, Bad Robot is also readying Duster, The Shining offshoot Overlook and Subject to Change (written by and based on an original idea from Abrams) for HBO Max as well as the long-gestating Demimonde (also written by the Lost alum) for premium cable network HBO. Elsewhere on the TV front, Bad Robot exec produces Apple’s Lisey’s Story (alongside author Stephen King), has a UFO docuseries in the works at Showtime and continues to exec produce Westworld for HBO. All of the scripted series are produced by Warner Bros. TV, Abrams’ longtime small-screen home. Bad Robot also exec produced Apple’s Little Voice (which is not expected to return) and HBO’s awards contender Lovecraft Country.
Bad Robot head of TV Ben Stephenson will exec produce Madame X alongside Abrams and Robinson. Bad Robot’s Rachel Rusch Rich will co-exec produce the potential series. Additional details, including a formal logline, are being kept under wraps as reps for HBO Max, producers Warner Bros. TV and Bad Robot declined comment.
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