Co-written by Vardalos and former Raising Hope showrunner Mike Mariano, Suburbs Famous explores what happens after a suburban housewife (Vardalos) accidentally becomes famous in a viral video. Thrust into the cutthroat world of celebrity chefs, the newly divorced mom must navigate between the intense public scrutiny which could destroy her and the investors who want to make her a star… all while realizing she suddenly has the one thing everyone wants: power.
ITV Studios America, where Flame Ventures has a first-look deal, is co-producing with Universal Cable Prods. Vardalos, Mariano and Krantz executive produce with Untitled Entertainment’s Jennifer Levine and Stephanie Simon. Flame Ventures’ John–Eric Capps co-executive produces.
“Suburbs Famous explores the concept of how it seems to be quite easy to become famous,” Vardalos said. She got the initial idea for the project while she was on a promotional tour last year and did a morning show that also featured Chewbacca Mom, a 37-year-old Texas mother who had become an overnight viral star with the video of her laughing while wearing a Chewbacca mask.
“I wanted to explore the concept of sudden fame for someone who isn’t prepared and doesn’t want it, for someone who gets power and doesn’t know what to do with it, as well as what happens next,” Vardalos said.
Vardalos will mine some of her own experiences of becoming an overnight sensation with the blockbuster success of her feature comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding; going from being an unrecognizable person to having paparazzi following her around. “I worked hard to maintain my normal, average life every day, not wanting a personal assistant for example,” she said. “You have struggles to maintain your ethics, morals and friendships.”
Fame also can be very fickle. “One minute, you are white hot and the next you could go cold,” Vardalos said.
Vardalos and Mariano first met at a CAA party twelve years ago where they bonded over their common Canadian roots. She quickly sparked to the idea of partnering with him on writing Suburbs Famous. As for Krantz, Vardalos also had known him for years, since meeting him on the set of The Drew Carey Show. The team only had four days to pitch the project as Vardalos had been busy with a play she adapted and toplines in New York, Tiny Beautiful Things, directed by Tommy Kail. Suburbs Famous was quickly bought by Bravo, which has been expanding its scripted brand with such series as Imposters.
In TV, Vardalos recently recurred on Graves and The Catch. She is reped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment, and Del Shaw Moonves. Krantz, who has a Foxy Brown TV series reboot in the works at Hulu with Meagan Good starring, is repped by CAA, Echo Lake Entertainment, and attorney Bianca Levin. Mariano is repped by CAA and attorney Jared Levine. Untitled is represented by Jackoway Tyerman.