Paramount Plus has ordered the series adaptation of the true crime podcast “Happy Face.”
The show was first announced as being in development at the streamer in September 2020, when it was still known as CBS All Access. Jennifer Cacicio will serve as writer, showrunner, and executive produce, with Robert and Michelle King also executive producing under their King Size Productions banner.
The series is inspired by the podcast from iHeartMedia and Melissa Jesperson-Moore, the book “Shattered Silence” written by Jesperson-Moore with M. Bridget Cook, and Jesperson-Moore’s true-life story. At age 15, she discovered her father, whom she loved dearly, was the prolific serial killer known as “Happy Face.” As an adult, Melissa changed her name, guarded her secret, and cut off all ties to her father, who is currently serving life in prison. Jumping off from her true-life story, in the series version, her father contacts her to take credit for another victim, and she gets pulled into an extraordinary investigation of her father and his crimes. The series follows her as she discovers the impact her father’s crimes had on the families of his victims, which ultimately leads to a reckoning of her own identity.
“We’re obsessed with true-crime podcasts, and ‘Happy Face’ is the best we’ve heard,” the Kings said. “Melissa’s story screams out to be dramatized, and Jen is exactly the showrunner to do it.”
Along with Cacicio and the Kings, Liz Glotzer of King Size will also executive produce, as will Jesperson-Moore and iHeartMedia’s Bob Pittman and Conal Byrne. CBS Studios, where the Kings are under an overall deal, will produce.
“It’s been an incredible journey that I couldn’t have ever foreseen – how I’ve transcended being raised by a serial killer and now am helping survivors tell their stories,” said Jesperson-Moore, executive producer and CEO of Redletter Media. “’Happy Face’ gives me the chance to share the intense internal conflict, fear and peril felt by those affected by true crime. It also inspires me to share the strength that has allowed me to step up in front of the camera so that other survivors will not feel alone in their experience.”
“Happy Face” is now the third series that the Kings have at Paramount Plus. The legal drama “The Good Fight” premiered its fifth season in June with a sixth on the way, while the supernatural drama “Evil” moved over from CBS for its second season with a third on the way.