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Last year, I don't know that anyone would have predicted another true crime narrative taking over the public consciousness as much as the first season of the podcast Serial, but it definitely happened with the nerve-jangling first season of Making a Murderer on Netflix. The show swamped national headlines and pushed the ridiculously dedicated creators Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos into the spotlight, and the duo's next project will pair them with George Clooney and his production company for a TV project that will adapt the popular Huffington Post article "America's Most Admired Lawbreaker". No, his name is most definitely not Steven Avery.
The first project to come from the first-look deal between George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Smokehouse Pictures and Sonar Entertainment, the small screen dramatization of Steven Brill's article will dig into a highly controversial court case involving the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and the ridiculously immoral and illegal way it pushed the medication Risperdal onto an unwitting population. Approved by the FDA in 1993 to treat schizophrenia, the powerful drug was later marketed to children, some as young as three years old, which led to the growth of breasts (gynecomastia) in many boys and young men.
Making a Murderer spent a large chunk of its run-time in the courtroom, and it's likely that this new project will put Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos back in that setting, since "America's Most Admired Lawbreaker" was a chronicling of attorney Stephen Sheller's masterful unveiling of Johnson & Johnson's devious efforts. The case broke wide open in 2003 after a suspicious employee contacted Sheller and blew the whistle, and a whole decade of trials passed before the massive $2.2 billion settlement was agreed upon, though the company did pay out a hefty chunk of change the year before in another settlement.
Ricciardi and Demos will be handling directing duties here, and adapting "America's Most Admired Lawbreaker" will be Nicki Paluga, best known as a writer and producer on series such as Resurrection and Perception. It's not clear just yet how many episodes viewers can expect to see, according to Variety, nor where we might end up seeing the event drama.
Sonar Entertainment currently has projects in the works and both HBO and Showtime, with other high-profile projects in development such as Tom Hardy's Taboo series and the TV adaptation of Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes. (The latter of which is heading to Audience Network.) And let's not forget the filmmakers' relationship with Netflix. This thing could go anywhere, really, and having George Clooney around behind the scenes can only help.
One has to wonder if this project will have the same kind of far-reaching impact as Making a Murderer, which made life hell for one particular prosecutor and is still making headlines every so often. It's up for a possible second season at Netflix, but we're assuming that might get pushed back now.