EXCLUSIVE: Apple has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to a mystery drama inspired by the real-life story of 11-year-old Hilde Lysiak. The untitled project, from Anonymous Content and Paramount Television, was created by Ben and Kate creator Dana Fox and Dara Resnik (Daredevil), who executive produce with Joy Gorman Wettels (13 Reasons Why) and Sharlene Martin (Deadly Sins). Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2) will direct and executive produce.
The series, also described as a family drama, follows a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. While there, her dogged pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town, including her own father, tried hard to bury.
The story is inspired by Hilde Lysiak, a young investigative reporter who, at age 9, was the first to expose a murder in her hometown of Selinsgrove, PA, breaking the news in her self-started newspaper, Orange Street News. Her exclusive drew negative feedback from online commenters who argued that that nine-year-olds shouldn’t be covering murders. Hilde fought back with a video, which went viral. She garnered national and international media attention and landed a deal with Scholastic to co-write four books with her author/journalist father, Matthew Lysiak, called Hilde Cracks the Case.
Hilde, born in Brooklyn where she spent her early childhood before the family moved to Matthew Lysiak’s hometown of Selinsgrove, also got the attention of Paramount TV and its partner Anonymous Content, who optioned Hilde’s life rights and the rights to her books.
Today, Lysiak works with young voices in an effort to empower the next generation of influencers, activists, and leaders. Here is one of her video news reports from two years ago.
The untitled Hilde Lysiak drama joins Apple’s growing slate of upcoming series including three from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine: a morning-show drama starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, Are You Sleeping starring Octavia Spencer, and a comedy toplined by Kristen Wiig.
Also on tap are an Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg, a Ronald D. Moore space drama, a Damien Chazelle series, romantic dramedy Little Voice produced by J.J Abrams, world-building drama See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, as well as an M. Night Shyamalan psychological thriller and comedy Dickinson starring Hailee Steinfeld, which is produced by Anonymous.
This also marks the latest series to come out of Anonymous and Paramount TV’s first-look arrangement. It joins Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac, Hulu’s upcoming Catch-22, Epix’s Berlin Station, and TNT’s The Alienist. At Apple, Anonymous and Paramount TV also have in the works an international drama series project based on Gregory David Roberts’ best-selling novel Shantaram.
Chu is with Artists First and UTA.