HBO may have found its next True Detective.
Following a bidding war with Netflix, the premium cable network has landed David E. Kelley’s Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman limited series Big Little Lies, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Based on Liane Moriarty’s book Big Little Lies, Kelley penned the script for the limited series — which was taken out to premium cablers and streaming services in November.
Published in July, Kidman and her Blossom Films banner, as well as Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard shingle, optioned the rights to the No. 1 New York Times best-seller as a potential starring feature film in August.
The novel and subsequent TV series centers on three mothers of kindergartners whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to to the point of murder.
Kelley, who most recently served as showrunner on CBS’ Robin Williams-Sarah Michelle Gellar comedy The Crazy Ones, is attached to pen the series via his David E. Kelley Productions banner. Kidman and Witherspoon will both exec produce alongside Kelley, who currently is exploring the marketplace free of a studio-based overall deal. Exec producers include Kelley, Witherspoon and Pacific Standard’s Bruna Papandrea, Kidman and Blossom Films’ Per Saari.
Australian novelist Moriarty will serve as a producer on Big Little Lies. She previously penned best-sellers What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and The Husband’s Secret.
Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard and Kidman’s Blossom Films have both been active in acquiring literary projects. Pacific Standard just produced Hot Pursuit, Wild and David Fincher’s Gone Girl; its slate also includes Mitch Larson’s fantasy book series Pennyroyal’s Boot Camp, set up at Summit/Lionsgate, The Engagements and Ashley’s War at Fox 2000, Luckiest Girl Alive at Lionsgate and S.J. Watson’s Second Life with Warner Bros. Blossom Films recently completed The Family Fang and produced Rabbit Hole as well as Fox 2000’s Monte Carlo. The company is developing The Silent Wife — based on best-seller Reconstructing Amelia — at HBO as well as a biography of singer Dusty Springfield.
For Oscar winners Kidman (The Hours) and Witherspoon (Walk the Line), Big Little Lies will mark their biggest TV roles to date. Big Little Lies comes as A-list talent have been flocking to TV as limited fare serves as a way to segue to the small screen with a reduced time commitment while still juggling feature films. Broadcast and cable networks have found both ratings and awards season cache with limited fare/anthologies including HBO’s True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson — and season two cast Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams as well as Fargo‘s second season starring Kristin Dunst. Oscar winner Halle Berry also segued to TV last year with CBS’ Steven Spielberg-produced summer drama Extant, which was renewed for a second season.
CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson brokered the deal for Pacific Standard; CAA and attorney Alan Werthheimer brokered the deal for Blossom Films. Ten-time Emmy winner Kelley, whose credits include Ally McBeal, Boston Public and L.A. Law, was repped in the deal by CAA and Gendler & Kelly. Moriarty is with Intellectual Property Group and attorney Matt Sugarman on behalf of Fiona Inglis at Curtis Brown Australia and Faye Bender in the U.S.
For HBO, Big Little Lies arrives as murder mysteries continue to be all the rage. The network will return anthology True Detective in June and found critical and ratings success with documentary series The Jinx.
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