HBO Max has ordered Equal, a four-part docuseries chronicling landmark events and the forgotten heroes of the LGBTQ+ movement, from Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions, Jim Parsons and That’s Wonderful Productions, Scout Productions, Jon Jashni (Lost in Space) and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.
Equal marks the first project to come out of a new documentary series unit at Warner Horizon Unscripted Television launched by Mike Darnell, President, Unscripted & Alternative Television at Warner Bros. as part of a major expansion into the docu space.
Per the producers, Equal captures the gripping and true backstories of the leaders and unsung heroes, pre-Stonewall, who changed the course of American history through their tireless activism.
Each hour-long episode brings to life the high stakes and hard deadlines of historical events that have not yet been given their due. The docuseries honors rebels of yesteryear through high-end re-enactments, never-before-seen footage, and captures the emotions of the times with messages just as relevant today.
The docuseries will feature numerous LGBTQ+ pioneers, including Harry Hay, a gay rights activist and the founder of the modern gay movement; The Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian civil and political rights organization; Christine Jorgensen, a transgender woman who flew to Europe in 1951 to undergo sex reassignment surgery and publicly transitioned; and gay rights and African American rights leader Bayard Rustin. Part four chronicles The Stonewall Riots from start to finish as well as the first Pride, the year after Stonewall.
“In June, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which shepherded in a new era for LGBTQ+ pride. While we know the story behind that fateful summer night, there’s a lot of fascinating, untold history of the patriots, artists, and thinkers who paved the way,” said Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of Original Non-fiction and Kids Programming, HBO Max. “It’s time to share their heroic tales, and we could not have more perfect partners in Jim Parsons, Greg Berlanti, Jon Jashni and Scout to introduce our HBO Max audience to these historical trailblazers.”
This marks the latest HBO Max series to come out of Warner Bros.’ Unscripted & Alternative Television division run by Darnell; it follows the recent pickup of four series produced by Warner Bros.-based Ellen DeGeneres.
“We are extremely proud to partner with these groundbreaking producers on a subject this important, at a time this critical,” Darnell said. “What a perfect project to launch Warner Horizon Unscripted Television’s new documentary series unit.”
Scout Productions’ David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric and Joel Chiodi executive produce along with Berlanti Productions’ Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, Parsons and Todd Spiewak for That’s Wonderful Productions, Jashni from Raintree Ventures, and Darnell and Brooke Karzen for Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.
Warner Bros.-based Berlanti has emerged as a major HBO Max supplier. He is committed to doing four movies for the service; Berlant Prods. is producing The Flight Attendant limited series and has a slew of DC series for the platform in the hopper.