Showtime’s On Becoming a God in Central Florida was doomed to become a show with no platform until it got scooped up by the network.
“It’s been a hard road for all of us. We’re a little emotional about this,” Dunst said on today’s TCA panel on the series.
The one-hour dark comedy series, starring EP Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a minimum-wage water park employee clawing her way to the top of a cultish pyramid scheme, was ordered to series last year by YouTube to debut this year.
The series is from George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures and Sony’s TriStar Television. However, producers were unable to negotiate an AVOD deal for the series, so it found a home at Showtime.
Following today’s TCA panel on the show, EP and showrunner Esta Spalding said YouTube had been supportive and had a marketing budget to promote the show. But the lack of an AVOD deal meant “there was no future for the show.”
Since the show had not been released, she said YouTube was cooperative in releasing the series back to Sony to shop elsewhere.
Dunst and Spalding appeared on a panel that included co-creator/Eps Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky, and cast members Théodore Pellerin, Mel Rodriguez, and Beth Ditto. Members of the group said being in limbo between platforms for a time only intensified their commitment to the series.
Dunst said she empathizes with her character because they both struggle to work while raising a baby. “We worked so hard. So many times (I said), ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ We did everything so quickly,” she said of fast-tracking the series for Showtime.
Spalding and the rest of the team agreed on the importance of presenting the reality of low wage workers struggling to survive, and turning to a pyramid scheme out of desperation. “These schemes are all about people being asked to monetize their relationships,” she said, calling it heartbreaking “the way families are broken apart, and losses become familial as well.”