HBO Developing TV Adaptation Of Podcast ‘Serial’ Season 3, Set In Ohio Criminal Justice System, From Shola Amoo, LeBron James & Kary Antholis
26th January 2021

The podcast-to-TV boom continues with HBO adapting the third season of Serial as a limited series.

The network is developing the remake with rising writer/director Shola Amoo and exec produced by Lebron James and former HBO exec Kary Antholis.

The third season of the award-winning podcast, which arguably set in motion the current boom for non-fiction audio series, was set in the Cleveland justice system. Unlike the first two seasons, which featured one case, it looked at the system overall with focuses on cases before the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas such as a woman who accidentally hits a police officer after being assaulted in a bar and a young African American man who is assaulted by police officers for being in possession of marijuana.

The television adaptation will follow a young cop and the man he’s accused of beating, it illuminates the deeply flawed inner workings of a middle-American courthouse and how the system impacts every person it touches: cop, lawyer, and citizens accused of and victimized by crimes.

Deadline understands that a version of the project has been in the works for a couple of years. HBO had originally optioned it while Antholis was President of Miniseries and Cinemax Programming at HBO. It was originally intended as a project for Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin but after he bowed out, James’ The SpringHill Company became involved and Amoo came in with a new take.

Amoo is writing, directing and exec producing. He wrote and directed the feature The Last Tree, which premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and is set to direct the Searchlight feature based on Leigh Montville’s novel Sting Like a Bee: Muhammed Ali vs. The United States of America that centers on Muhammed Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the US Army during the Vietnam War.

Serial host Sarah Koenig will exec produce with Serial Productions’ Emmanuel Dzotsi and Alissa Shipp. It comes after the New York Times acquired Serial Productions last July. It is the latest adaptation for the company, which is also working on a pilot for the remake of the Nice White Parents podcasts with HBO and Issa Rae and a movie based on S-Town with Thomas McCarthy and Participant. It is also the latest attempt to adapt Serial for the screen after The Lego Movie duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller attempted to adapt the first season back in 2015 with Fox 21 Television Studios. HBO also previously aired the doc series The Case Against Adnan Syed, which was the subject of the first season of Serial.

Lebron James, who was born in Akron, Ohio will exec produce for The SpringHill Company alongside Maverick Carter, Jamal Henderson and Eric Oberland. It is the latest project for the NBA star’s company, which is involved in Space Jam: A New Legacy and produces NBC game show The Wall, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker for Netflix, and the docuseries I Promise.

Kary Antholis, who left HBO in 2019 after 25 years, will exec produce via his Crime Story Media. It is the latest project for Antholis, who is involved in Apple TV+’s adaptation of In With The Devil with Taron Egerton set to star as the author and Richard Jewell‘s Paul Walter Hauser in talks to join him as a suspected serial killer.

Shola Amoo is represented by CAA & Curtis Brown in the UK, Serial Productions is represented by UTA, The SpringHill Company is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham LLP and Crime Story Media, LLC is represented by WME.

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