In a bidding war, Netflix has given a series order to The Girls On the Bus, a drama from Legacies creator/executive producer Julie Plec, Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. Television where both Plec and Berlanti are under overall deals. The project was inspired by The Girls on the Bus chapter of Amy Chozick’s best-selling book Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns and One Intact Glass Ceiling.
For a decade, award-winning New York Times journalist Chozick chronicled Hillary Clinton’s pursuit of the presidency, including her unsuccessful 2008 and 2016 campaigns. While the book provides a candid and rollicking first-hand account of the Clinton 2016 campaign’s unraveling and her surprising loss to Donald Trump, the TV series is not about Clinton or the 2016 U.S. presidential election and will feature fictional candidates.
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It draws inspiration from The Girls On the Bus chapter in the book, which in turn is a take on the famous 1973 book The Boys On the Bus, about the male reporters who used to dominate the campaign trail.
Written by Plec and Chozick, The Girls On the Bus chronicles four female journalists who follow the every move of a parade of flawed presidential candidates, finding friendship, love, and a scandal that could take down not just the presidency but our entire democracy along the way.
Plec and Chozick executive produce alongside Berlanti Prods.’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. Berlanti Productions and Plec’s My So-Called Company produce in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Chozick’s memoir Chasing Hillary was an instant hot commodity when it was published by HarperCollins in April 2018. The New York Times review called it The Devil Wears Prada meets Boys on the Bus, while New York Magazine described it as “a kind of Bridget Jones’s Diary meets What It Takes, coming-of-age rom-com set on the campaign trail.”
WBTV landed rights to the book in September 2018 in a competitive situation. Studio-based Plec and Berlanti, long-time friends and collaborators, then teamed on an adaptation, which was taken out earlier this month, drawing bids from multiple streamers, including Netflix, Apple and WBTV sibling HBO Max.
For TV development history buffs, a single-camera comedy Girls On the Bus, based on the experiences of reporter Alexandra Pelosi, went to pilot at ABC in 2006. It revolved around a female reporter and female news producer on the campaign trail.
Plec and Berlanti are college friends from Northwestern University. Berlanti has credited Plec with convincing him to go back to writing when he had given up on his Hollywood dreams after a year of odd jobs and a string of rejections by agents and studios.
Years later, the two briefly worked together on Dawson’s Creek and sold a feature, Her Leading Man, to Universal. They then went their separate ways, with Plec co-creating and executive producing The Vampire Diaries and Berlanti building the Arrowverse, among other things, until re-teaming at WBTV in 2012 on Tomorrow People. The project, an adaptation of the British show, went to series at the CW.
Plec is repped by Management 360 and attorney Eric Suddleson.