EXCLUSIVE: Gold medalist Tara Lipinski, the darling of the 1998 Nagano Olympics who at 15 became the youngest winner of an individual event at the Winter Games, is teaming with producer Michael Shamberg and writer Jonathan Igla (Mad Men, Masters Of Sex) for a new drama series at Hulu offering a behind-the-scenes look at the intense world of figure skating. The untitled series will center on a group of women and men in their teens and 20s who sacrifice normal life for that sweepstakes shot at immortality that comes around every four years in front of a global audience.
Hulu has made a script commitment to a potential series that chronicles what it takes — and costs — to coach, raise, and be an Olympic champion.
“To the average observer, figure skating appears to be an extremely elegant and undeniably beautiful sport — and for good reason,” Lipinski said. “But when you begin to peel back the layers of this world, a more complex, and even shocking, picture emerges. I’ve dedicated the majority of my life to skating and I can’t begin to describe how much I love my sport. I want to paint an authentic picture of the highs and the lows and the price that some people pay to be part of this world. For over a decade now I’ve been trying to find the appropriate medium, and the right people, to capture the behind-the-scenes life of figure skaters. To me, skating has been portrayed as an inspiring Olympic sport or an over-the-top parody so this will be a version viewers may not have seen before. Jonathan is the perfect person to take many of the things I’ve observed and craft them into a compelling and dramatic series.”
Said Igla: “I’ve always wanted to write about the lives of Olympians, but no amount of research could have given me the authentic look inside that Tara provides. Her remarkable story, and her eagerness to tell it, has created a unique opportunity to tell grounded, character-driven stories of young people coping with impossible pressure, and the toll their obsession takes on those around them.”
Lipinski didn’t peak on the medal stand. She continues her involvement in the sport as a primetime analyst for Olympic figure skating, and has now expanded her role at NBC Sports, covering events like the Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl and the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics. She will be executive producer, along with Shamberg and Igla, and Alexandra Zimbler, Head of TV Development at Shamberg’s company MAS Production. Ameet Shukla, Head of Production at MAS, will also will be involved.
Shamberg is currently exec producing Into The Badlands, the AMC series whose second season is now in pre-production. Igla is currently a writer on Fox’s baseball-themed fall drama Pitch.
UTA reps Lipinski, CAA reps Shamberg and Verve reps Igla.