EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has acquired the rights to David Henry Sterry’s memoir Master of Ceremonies: A True Story of Love, Murder, Roller Skates & Chippendales, to develop as a series. Emmy-nominated Gordon Smith (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) is set to pen the series adaptation and showrun the project for SPT, where he is under an overall deal.
The memoir of Sterry’s time as the MC at the world-famous male strip club is a window into the girls-just-want-to-have-fun, greed-is-good, party-all-the time, coked-up world of 1980’s America through the eyes of Manhattan’s hottest show: Chippendales, where women rule the roost and men get rich and famous (or infamous).
Smith’s adaptation will be a semi-fictionalized premium television series based on a true, grabbed from the headlines, fall of Rome story that starts in the epicenter of the decadent, deregulated, 80s America: New York City. The club turns a revolutionary release of the female libido and sexual empowerment into a cultural phenomenon, a cash cow, and the hottest, most outrageous and talked about show in “The City That Never Sleeps.” Ambition, addiction, and greed creep in, as the club becomes a drug distribution center for the Upper East Side and people are murdered in cold blood.
Smith will executive produce with Jay Froberg and Gavin Levinson for ROAR. Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Sterry are also executive producers. Sam Sokolow will be a Consulting Producer.
Smith, who has been with Better Call Saul since the series’ launch, is currently working as an executive producer on the final season. Smith started out as a production assistant on season 3 of the hit show Breaking Bad before progressing to creator Vince Gilligan’s assistant and then writer’s assistant, staying on the series until its conclusion. Smith has been nominated for two individual Primetime Emmys for his writing on Better Call Saul, and won a WGA Award in 2018 for the “Chicanery” episode. He also wrote the critically acclaimed “Bagman” episode in season 5 and made his directorial debut on the “Namaste” episode, which he also scripted.
Smith and Sterry are both repped by Gregg Gellman at Morris Yorn, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the author. Additionally, Smith is managed by Theresa Kang of Blue Marble. ROAR was repped by Lindsay Conner of Manatt, Phelps & Philips, while Thomas was repped by Ryan Webb at Greenberg Glusker, and Sokolow by Joel VanderKloot at VanderKloot Law.