The untitled series is based on Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown’s upcoming book about Epstein. Brown’s reporting was a driving force behind the multimillionaire financier’s arrest this past July on sex trafficking charges. McKay will executive produce along with Brown and his producing partner, Kevin Messick. McKay is also attached to direct the pilot.
The potential series falls under a new five-year first-look television deal that McKay has signed with HBO to develop content for both HBO and the streaming service HBO Max.
McKay will produce under his new company, Hyperobject Industries, with Messick joining the company as a partner. Given the current situation with the WGA, no Hyperobject Industries project will be part of any packaging deals through WME, who rep McKay as a director and producer.
The rest of the Hyperobject team consists of executive producer Robyn Wholey, creative executive Maeve Cullinane, associate producer Staci Roberts-Steele, and Jenna Go, Stephanie Chopra, and Daniel Omaits. The company has also hired Todd Schulman to help oversee the TV deal. Betsy Koch will continue to work with McKay at the new company as a producer across both TV and film projects.
McKay has worked on multiple HBO series during his career, most recently as an executive producer on the Emmy-winning show “Succession,” with McKay also having directed the pilot of that series. His other HBO credits include the comedy series “Eastbound & Down” and “Funny or Die Presents.”
“We are delighted to continue our longtime collaboration with Adam McKay with this new deal,” says Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming. “Adam is a uniquely talented director and producer, and we are looking forward to working with him and the team at Hyperobject on many projects to come.”
McKay is also attached as an executive producer and director on an HBO drama pilot about the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. Production on the pilot wrapped on Oct. 8.
“We’ve worked with Casey Bloys, Francesca Orsi, Len Amato and the team at HBO for years on shows like ‘Eastbound & Down,’ ‘FOD Presents,’ and ‘Succession.’ They’re fearless, extremely clued in and know how to frame and present a show like no one else.”
McKay is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham LLP.
McKay’s series is the latest television project about Epstein to be announced in recent months. Variety exclusively reported in August that Patricia Heaton was also developing an Epstein series, while Lifetime is currently working on the docuseries “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.”
Epstein was arrested in July and accused of sexually assaulting and trafficking numerous underage girls. The case drew worldwide attention due in part to the fact that Epstein was known to associate with numerous powerful figures in Washington DC and internationally.
This was not the first time he was charged with such crimes, with Brown’s articles calling attention to a sweetheart plea deal that Epstein received in 2008 from former U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who resigned as the U.S. Labor Secretary when details of the deal were brought back up following Epstein’s new arrest.
Epstein died in his cell in a New York detention center in August in an apparent suicide, though many have speculated that he was murdered.
(Pictured: Adam McKay)