Former NBC and WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt set his latest series at Hulu under his first-look deal with Lionsgate Television. Per The Hollywood Reporter, development has begun on Death at Penn State, a limited series adaptation of Caitlin Flanagan‘s 2017 feature for The Atlantic Death at a Penn State Fraternity about the dangerous hazing rituals employed by fraternities. It’s penned by Joe Hortua (Better Things), who also joins Greenblatt and Flanagan as an executive producer.
Death at Penn State will capture fraternity life and its dangers through the story of Tim Piazza, a fraternity pledge at Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi chapter who had fought for his life after undoing a brutal hazing ritual from his fraternity brothers. Despite his obviously serious medical condition, nobody called 911 until 12 hours later and by then, it was too late to save him. The result was one of the largest hazing prosecutions in the history of the U.S. that ultimately resulted in the closure of the fraternity’s chapter altogether and the prosecution of many of those involved in the hazing.
Greenblatt told THR that it was a must-adapt story for him, citing both the horrible nature of the story and Flanagan‘s skill as a journalist:
“I thought this is a story that needs to be told and I knew immediately. It’s a hard look at a terrible tragedy. Not only would this be a compelling drama but it could have some effect on the situation. I just started to think about how to do it sensitively and who we could sell it to, and it started there. That article knocked me out and Caitlin, who is one of the great journalists of our time, found a human way into this story that moved me.”
Alongside Greenblatt, Flanagan, and Hortua, other members of Greenblatt‘s production company The Green Room are involved in the series including his partner Jon Wu as a co-executive producer. Kevin Bray will direct the series and also executive produce. The Atlantic is also on board as an executive producer.
Greenblatt has been nominated for an Emmy five times as a producer with three coming for his work on HBO‘s hit drama Six Feet Under. Thanks to his years as a high-profile figure across the industry, he’s brought successful projects to the forefront time and time again including The X-Files, Beverly Hills, 90210, CBS‘s Elvis, and Melrose Place. More recently, he was involved in a pair of episodes for The Gilded Age and helped bring Annie Live! to NBC. Death at Penn State continues his return to production, though it won’t be his first under the Lionsgate deal as he’s also set a murder mystery anthology series at Peacock with legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber at the helm alongside Austin Winsberg (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
Stay tuned here at Collider for more as Greenblatt‘s latest series gets underway at Hulu.