Before there was YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, public access TV proved revolutionary, creating genres, advancing women’s and LGBTQ rights, winning Supreme Court rulings and changing the way content was consumed by providing an outlet for free speech.
The limited series featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes material will touch on TV series that played a hand in these movements including Gay USA, The Live Show, Midnight Blue and others. It will also examine the public television starts of some of entertainment’s biggest names, including Whoopi Goldberg, The Beastie Boys and RuPaul.
Versus Entertainment’s Rob Meyers, Justin Barnes and Mark Grande will exec produce the series with Ben Bitonti, David Hutkin and David C. Glasser of 101 Studios.
“Access the Public is an exciting project for us because it uncovers and reveals a big part of history that many people are not familiar with,” said Glasser, who serves as 101 Studios’ CEO. “The role that public access television played in shaping how we produce and consume entertainment to this day is immense, and we are proud to have a hand in telling the story to audiences worldwide.”
“Growing up in New York, I felt like you always had these mini revolutions all around you, be it racial, sexual, or artistic,” added Versus Co-Founder Meyers. “Public Access TV captured all of this in flashes of brilliance, showing the city at its most unfiltered – which is exactly how we plan to share it with a new generation of viewers.”
Founded by Glasser and COO Hutkin, 101 Studios is known for its collaboration with Taylor Sheridan on his Emmy-nominated Paramount Network series, Yellowstone, along with its upcoming prequel 1883 and crime thriller Mayor of Kingstown. The company also oversees and managing the newly formed content platform, Sports Illustrated Studios.
Upcoming projects include Paradise Found, based on the true story of high school football coach Rick Prinz; a docuseries about the sexual abuse and cover-up at Ohio State University, co-produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures; and the docuseries Covers, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sports Illustrated’s top cover stories of all time.
Versus has previously produced features including The Fabulous Chi Ali, Before Jackie: The Story of Kenny Washington with Viola Davis for CBS Sports, YouTube’s Paris Hilton doc This is Paris, and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, from executive producer Susan Sarandon. The content company’s creative partners include Disney, ABC, CBS, NFL, Discovery, and Audible.
The deal between 101 Studios and Versus Productions was brokered by UTA.
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