The bestselling author behind The Finest Hours and his Boston Strong co-author are launching a new production company, and they already have their sights set on their first project — Billion Dollar Sound, a limited TV series about the corrupt boy band manager Lou Pearlman and his relationship with LFO lead singer Rich Cronin. Author Casey Sherman, author-journalist Dave Wedge and producer Ted Collins (Sally, Dose Of Reality) have launched Whydah Productions to develop original projects and acquire literary material for film, TV and streaming services. Their offices will be based in Los Angeles and Boston.
The company says it will focus on emerging talent and work to adapt past and future novels from Sherman and Wedge to develop into film and TV projects.
Billion Dollar Sound follows the lead singer and primary songwriter of the pop band Lyte Funkie Ones (LFO), Cronin, and his dealings with corrupt music mogul Lou Pearlman who just died this past week. The convicted Ponzi scheme manager was the man behind the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, among others. Actor Jay Giannone (The Departed) brought the project to Whydah and is attached as a producer.
The series will explore the ugly side of the boy bands explosion in the 1990s and early 2000s. Pearlman died in prison Saturday while serving a 25-year sentence for ripping off his artists and defrauding investors to the tune of $300 million.
Billion Dollar Sound is based on the recently discovered memoir written by Cronin, a Boston native. LFO’s 1999 hit Summer Girls was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart for six weeks. Cronin died from leukemia in 2010 before the memoir could be published.
The based-on-a-true-story series will follow the euphoric highs and destructive lows of Cronin’s relationship with Pearlman, who discovered the singer and seduced him with fame and money while also robbing him of his innocence. Cronin is credited with helping to bring his former mentor to justice.
“Viewers will experience the behind-the-scenes take of how a morally and financially corrupt mogul with the Midas touch built a pop culture empire on the backs of talented, yet vulnerable and naive, young musicians, dancers and singers, only to squander it all away through greed, theft, scandal and corruption,” said the Whydah principals in a statement to Deadline. “Like the hit television series The People Vs. OJ Simpson, we will portray all the real players in this drama including some of the world’s biggest pop stars as major characters in our show.”
“In the tradition of the Whydah Galley (an infamous pirate ship loaded with gold and silver), Whydah Productions is on the lookout for buried treasure,” said Sherman, who is the author of eight books. “We will work with talented storytellers and cultivate their material to package for studios and networks.”
Besides being an author with movies already adapted for the big screen, Sherman is the creator of Life In Shadows, an original TV series in development at Bob Cooper’s Storyscape Entertainment. His other books include Animal: The Bloody Rise And Fall Of The Mob’s Most Feared Assassin, Search For The Strangler, Bad Blood, Black Irish, Black Dragon and the upcoming Above And Beyond. He is also a contributing writer for Esquire, Yahoo, The Huffington Post and Fox News.
Wedge is a former lead investigative reporter for The Boston Herald and is also a contributing writer for Vice, Esquire and Newsweek.
Collins is producer and writer-director of eight independent films and shorts including Unconditional Love. His work also includes the upcoming Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End.
Sherman and Wedge are repped by The Gotham Group. Collins is repped by attorney Rick Kurshner.