Steven Soderbergh recently found success on television, directing last year’s HBO movie Behind the Candelabra. The high-profile project garnered critical acclaim, and has also apparently prompted the prolific TV director, writer and producer to take on another TV gig. This time, Starz is turning the director’s experimental movie The Girlfriend Experience into a TV series.
Soderbergh’s 2009 film of the same name follows a young call girl named Chelsea (played by former porn star Sasha Grey) who is dealing with the financial crisis happening around the time of the 2008 Presidential election. The movie story follows Chelsea in her personal and professional life. Starz’s Girlfriend Experience sounds similar and dissimilar. The episodes will run for a half-hour each, and will follow a set of women who act as “qausi-lovers” and “confidants” for clients who pay for their time.
Soderbergh hasn’t signed on to direct this time around, but he is going to executive produce the project. Other big names attached to Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience include Philip Fleishman, who will also executive produce, and Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz, who will write and direct the new series. While the title for the project makes it seem as if it will be reality-based, The Girlfriend Experience will actually be a scripted endeavor, and the subscription cable station has already signed on for 13 episodes. The Girlfriend Experience is being described as an “anthology series,” and while no tentative release date has been scheduled, at least we know the show is getting off the ground.
In a press release, Soderbergh explained how The Girlfriend Experience landed at Starz with CEO Chris Albrecht.
“When Philip floated the idea of a Girlfriend Experience-inspired television show, I thought: ‘let’s make it a different woman in a different city, let’s pair two independent writer/directors, one male and one female, and let them do the whole thing.’ I’ve known Lodge for 20 years and I became a fan of Amy’s when I saw her first feature last summer. We went to Chris Albrecht because he and I have been trying to find something to do together since we did “K Street” 11 years ago. He responded without hesitation to both the idea of the show and the approach.”
Starz has been busy building an interesting and eclectic original programming lineup over the last several years. Da Vinci’s Demons has enjoyed two seasons at the network. More recently , the network has added 50 Cent drama Power and pirate drama Black Sails to its roster. Coming up, a television program based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel Outlander has been getting a lot of buzz. I’m not sure if The Girlfriend Experience will gel with a lot of the other programming Starz has to offer, but it will be interesting to see what the network can do with a half-hour series of that ilk. We’ll keep you posted as The Girlfriend Experience moves forward over at Starz.