Nine-year-old reporter Hilde Lysiak — who made national headlines this April when she reported on a possible murder — is building out her growing resume, and is headed to TV.
Paramount Television and Anonymous Content have optioned the rights to the pint-sized journalist’s forthcoming book series “Hilde Cracks the Case” with the intent to develop a TV show based on the four mystery novels that will be released by Scholastic.
Inspired by true news stories that Lysiak has broken throughout her aspiring career as a journalist, the mystery novels star Hilde and her older sister Izzy, her sidekick newspaper photographer, as the two girls stop at nothing to uncover the truth.
The Paramount/Anonymous pact also includes the rights to Lysiak’s own life story. While the TV character will be based on Lysiak, she will not star in the project.
Described as a real-life “Harriet the Spy,” Lysiak made her own news in April when she was the first to report on a murder in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pa., breaking the story in her self-launched newspaper, Orange Street News. Her video report of the possible murder went viral. When she received backlash from critics who slammed her coverage, due to her age, she appeared on “Good Morning America” to defend herself amidst the outrage. “Just because I’m a girl, and just because I’m 9, doesn’t mean I can’t be a reporter,” she said on the morning show.
For the TV project, Paramount TV will serve as the lead production studio, while Anonymous Content’s Joy Gorman Wettels and Martin Literary & Media Management’s Sharlene Martin executive produce. Gorman Wettels has been pursuing the rights since April, and optioned them after a competitive bidding war. Paradigm and Del Shaw brokered the Paramount TV deal.
“I sat behind Hilde and her family at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards when she was honored and was blown away by this brave little change maker who believes kids should be taken seriously, seek the truth and have a real voice,” said Gorman Wettels. “As producers and parents, we aspire to create content that can have a positive impact. With a hero like Hilde and the support of Amy Powell and her team at Paramount, we intend to make a show that kids can be empowered by.”
“When we first learned about Hilde and what she was accomplishing at just 9 years old, we knew her stories would make an impact on youth across the country, showing them what they can accomplish if they set their mind towards a goal,” said Paramount TV president Amy Powell. “One of the best parts of our job is working with young talent and, along with our partners at Anonymous Content, we’re excited to create a series based on Hilde’s fresh voice and real-life sleuthing.”
The first of Scholastic’s four “Hilde Cracks the Case” books will be released in fall 2017. The young reporter will co-author the books with her father, Matthew, who is also a journalist.
“Hilde Cracks the Case” is the latest project between Paramount TV and Anonymous Content, as the two companies have a first-look production deal for scripted television content. Other projects in the works include Netflix’s “Thirteen Reasons Why” from exec producers Selena Gomez, Tom McCarthy and Brian Yorkey; Netflix’s “Maniac,” starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill; TNT’s “The Alienist,” based on the book; and a “Battlefield” show, adapted from the video games.