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‘This American Life’ seg inspires HBO project

Rob Thomas, Owen Wilson, Ira Glass developing drama

HBO has teamed with Rob Thomas, Ira Glass and Owen Wilson to develop a drama series inspired by a “This American Life” segment about a man who deals with a midlife crisis by rescuing two kidnapped kids in Mexico.

Thomas (“Veronica Mars”) is penning the script for the project, tentatively titled “Thrillsville.”

The series will be a fictionalized spin on aspects of the “Midlife Cowboy” seg that aired on the public radio series in March 2010. James Spring, a San Diego man who had in his youth been a methamphetamine smuggler before becoming an advertising copywriter and family man, detailed the story of how the approach of his 40th birthday inspired him to do something significant to help others.

His quest led him to mount a search for two young girls who were kidnapped in Northern California in connection with drug-trade violence and taken to Baja California.

The media coverage of Spring’s success in finding the girls led him to a new career investigating missing persons cases.

Thomas, Glass and Wilson are exec producing with Thomas’ partners Dan Etheridge and Danielle Stokdyk, Regina Lee of Wilson’s company and Alissa Shipp of Public Radio Intl.’s “This American Life.”

UTA packaged the project and reps Thomas, Glass and Wilson.

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