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The spirit of ‘Rush’

Whitaker's shingle to develop HBO laffer

HBO is developing “The Education of Ricky Rush,” a comedy series pilot from Forest Whitaker’s Spirit Dance Entertainment.

“Rush” will focus on the antics of a law student who works as a driver for an escort service. Bryan Goluboff (“X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes,” “Basketball Diaries”) will write the pilot. Whitaker, who exec produces, will likely play an onscreen role in, and may direct, the pilot. Carolyn Strauss is shepherding the project for HBO. Lenny Brown is Spirit Dance’s VP of television.

Packed slate

“Ricky” is only one of the cable projects in development at L.A.-based Spirit Dance, which has a first-look deal with Columbia TriStar TV. Also on Spirit Dance’s slate are:

  • “Bill Porter,” a two-hour telefilm in development at HBO based on an ABC News “20/20” profile about a door-to-door salesman with multiple sclerosis. William H. Macy is attached to star and will co-write with Steve Schachter.

  • “The Prisonaires,” a two-hour telefilm in development at TNT based on the true story of a 1950s musical group formed in the Tennessee prison system. Boyz II Men are attached to star.

  • “Fred Hampton,” a biopic in development at Showtime about Fred Hampton, a member of the Black Panther Party who was shot by Chicago police officers in 1969.

  • “From Selma to Sorrow,” a telepic in development at Lifetime about Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit housewife and civil rights worker who was murdered en route to a civil rights meeting — based on the book of the same name by Mary Stanton; Shelley Evans will script; in association with Col TriStar TV.

  • “Entering Richmond,” Lifetime is developing this telefilm based on the story of Pauli Murray, the first black Episcopalian minister who eventually co-founded women’s rights group National Organization for Women, and her efforts to save a sharecropper in 1944; in association with Col TriStar TV.

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