HBO has given pilot orders to two provocative dramas with Oscar-winning auspices: Succession, directed and executive produced by The Big Short‘s Adam McKay; and Mogadishu, Minnesota (formerly know as The Recruiters), executive produced by Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow. Succession is written/executive produced by Peep Show co-creator Jesse Armstrong and exec produced by Will Ferrell, Frank Rich and Kevin Messick, while Mogadishu, Minnesota is written/directed/executive produced by rapper K’naan Warsame.
This marks HBO’s first drama pilot orders in almost a year. They come five months after HBO head of comedy Casey Bloys added drama development to his purview. The pilot pickups follow an extensive review by Bloys of the network’s drama development pipeline, which I hear resulted in the release of dozens of scripts. They join drama Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams, which HBO landed in April with an eight-episode, straight-to-series, first-season order.
The pilot orders for Succession and Mogadishu, Minnesota also are the first HBO green lights since longtime president of programming Michael Lombardo stepped down last month, succeeded by Bloys.
Succession appears topical as the Redstone family real-life soap opera is unfolding. It follows the saga of a fictional, American global-media family that is not only rich and powerful but also powerfully dysfunctional. The drama will explore family loyalty, international business, and the perils of power in the 21st century.
Armstrong wrote the script and is executive producing with Gary Sanchez’s McKay, Ferrell and Messick as well as Rich, who is under a creative consultant deal with HBO.
McKay is coming off a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar win with co-writer Charles Randolph for The Big Short. Armstrong also worked on the HBO comedy series Veep, on which Rich serves as an executive producer under his HBO deal. The Emmy-winning series was recently renewed for a sixth season. Armstrong’s first novel, Love Sex And Other Foreign Policy Goals, a black comedy about the Bosnia war, will be published in the U.S. this month by Blue Rider Press.
Warsame’s Mogadishu, Minnesota is a family drama that grapples with what it means to be American among the Somalis of Minneapolis. Somalia-born and Canadian-raised Warsame and Bigelow executive produce with Carolyn Strauss (Game Of Thrones). The project is said to touch upon the subject of Jihadi recruitment in the U.S.
Warsame and Bigelow are repped by CAA and attorney Warren Dern from Sloane Offer.
Armstrong is repped by UTA and UK agent Cathy King. McKay is repped by WME and Mosaic.