The series will follow the corrupt inner workings of a prestigious college basketball program through the eyes of its new assistant coach. Producers said that with a House of Cards feel, Madness reveals the repercussions the team must face after their head coach makes a bad deal.
“In BlacKkKlansman, Charlie and David were able to tap into the current national zeitgeist through the artful telling of an unknown story from American history,” said Cody Zwieg, SVP Production and Development at Gunpowder & Sky. “They are treasure hunters of sorts, seeking out and spinning the undiscovered stories that resonate with the social climate of today. For Gunpowder & Sky this is a golden opportunity.”
Said Wachtel: “Madness is a sports story told through the lens of a crime drama. Who are those powerful-looking college basketball coaches, with their suits, their slicked-back hair, and their seven-figure salaries? What’s it like to be a college freshman suddenly thrust into the national spotlight? And what if the forces behind these multimillion-dollar machines were not so different from those behind organized crime? In our world of college sports, there are rules to follow, a hierarchy of power, and real consequences for failure.”
Added Rabinowitz: “With Madness we hope to shine a light on the dark underbelly of college athletics, from the morally compromised coaches to the conflicted players. It’s a story of opportunity, choices, and greed. We’re thrilled to be working with Gunpowder & Sky, who has a record of working on projects that take chances and not compromising their vision. They knew immediately the kind of show we sought to create and have been incredibly supportive of our vision. It’s been a dream of ours to see this show take flight.”
The project joins Gunpowder & Sky’s TV development slate that includes Shirmp, with Zelda Williams adapting her short film. The studio also recently partnered with Tigerlily Productions to develop a new comedy series, Assets.
Wachtel & Rabinowitz wrote the script for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlanman along with Kevin Willmot & Lee. The drama about the real-life exploits of a black Colorado Springs police detective who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan in the early 1970s is up for Best Adapted Screenplay among its six total Oscar noms including Best Picture and Lee’s first Best Director nom.