EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Universal Television and producer Sherry Marsh (Pose, Vikings) have optioned the rights to Bruce Holsinger’s hot new novel The Gifted School for TV series development. A search is underway for a writer to pen the adaptation.
An instant bestseller, The Gifted School echoes the recent college admissions scandal, with NPR’s book review describing it as“ripped-from-the-headlines parental scheming” and “a seventh-grade variation” on the drama uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues.
Set in a fictional Colorado enclave of over-entitled families, The Gifted School depicts parenting as a competitive sport. In the book, four women who have been friends for over a decade, the Quad, find their lives turned upside down when a competitive charter school for “exceptionally gifted children” opens its doors in their pristine Colorado town. When one of their children launches a research project to help his admission odds, a secret is uncovered that threatens the carefully curated lives of the four friends.
“We’re so grateful that Bruce has entrusted us with The Gifted School,” said Pearlena Igbokwe, President Universal Television. “This book has it all – humor, mystery, biting social commentary and a juicy plot that, I should note, predated the recent headline- making Operation Varsity Blues scandal.”
Marsh executive produces via her Marsh Entertainment.
“After hearing about Universal’s vision for The Gifted School from Sherry Marsh and Pearlena Igbokwe,” said Holsinger, “I am beyond excited to be working with them on bringing the novel to the screen.”
In addition to college admission scandal similarities, with its setting and lead characters The Gifted School also draws parallels to Big Little Lies though the book is lighter; it has been described as a social comedy.
“The Gifted School is psychological fiction at its best and I have been nearly obsessed with bringing this world to light,” Marsh said. “With its rich characters, diverse themes and broad appeal I look forward to working with Universal on bringing Bruce Holsinger’s incredible story to audiences around the world.”
Holsinger is a professor of English Language and literature whose books on medieval culture have won major prizes from the Modern Language Association and the Medieval Academy of America. Holsinger is also a fiction writer, the author of two historical novels set in Ricardian England, A Burnable Book and The Invention of Fire. The Gifted School is his third novel.
Marsh is an executive producer on the Emmy-nominated Pose, which recently won a Peabody. She is producing series The Banker’s Wife for Amazon, which goes into pre-production this January, executive produces History’s award-winning series Vikings, and is developing the Rock Hudson biopic feature All that Heaven Allows with Universal and Greg Berlanti.
The deal was negotiated by ICM Partners.