Showtime has picked up On Becoming A God in Central Florida, a one-hour dark comedy series starring Kirsten Dunst. The project, from George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures and Sony’s TriStar Television, was ordered to series last year by YouTube to debut this year.
Sony TV started conversations about moving the show elsewhere earlier this year, following the Google-owned company’s programming shift that involves making all original series, originally earmarked for SVOD platform YouTube Red/Premium, available as AVOD offerings, as well as putting a pin in all new scripted development. According to sources, YouTube and Sony TV were not able to negotiate an AVOD deal for On Becoming a God in Central Florida. YouTube Originals’ brass, who are said to be proud of the show, then worked closely with Sony TV to find a new home for it. Sony TV also has hit Cobra Kai at YouTube, which was recently renewed for a third season.
The nine-episode On Becoming A God in Central Florida, set to debut on Showtime Sunday, August 25, is a darkly comedic story about the cult of free enterprise and one woman’s relentless pursuit of the American Dream. In addition to Dunst, the series stars Théodore Pellerin, Beth Ditto, Mel Rodriguez and Ted Levine. Created and executive produced by Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky, the series is also executive produced by Smokehouse Pictures’ Clooney and Grant Heslov, along with Dunst, Charlie McDowell, who also directed the pilot, and Esta Spalding, who also serves as showrunner. (Watch a teaser below)
“We were immediately drawn to this stylish and subversive female empowerment story starring Kirsten Dunst as you’ve never seen her before,” said Gary Levine, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks . “Throw in clever writing, inventive filmmaking, a strong, diverse ensemble and some alligators, and we’re confident Showtime audiences will find On Becoming A God irresistible!”
On Becoming A God In Central Florida, which was originally in development at AMC before getting the green light at YouTube, was one of the passion projects for the late TriStar TV topper Suzanne Patmore Gibbs who revived Sony Pictures TV’s label as home of female-focused material.
Set in a small Orlando-adjacent town in 1992, On Becoming A God in Central Florida follows Krystal Stubbs (Dunst), a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM) — the cultish, flag-waving, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her to ruin in the first place, run by the powerful Obie Garbeau II (Levine). Determined to make a better life for herself, Krystal dives deep into FAM and develops a tangled relationship with FAM’s most loyal and fanatical follower Cody (Pellerin), until her business begins to affect those closest to her, including Ernie (Rodriguez), her affable water park boss, and his FAM-skeptic wife Bets (Ditto).
Additional recurring cast includes Usman Ally, Julie Benz, Melissa De Sousa, John Earl Jelks, Sharon Lawrence, Josh Fadem, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Alexander Skarsgård and Mary Steenburgen.
Here is a teaser: