EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, CBS has given a script commitment with penalty to How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, a single-camera comedy inspired by TikTok star Sarah Cooper’s book. The project hails from Cooper, Cindy Chupack (Sex and the City), Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi’s PatMa Productions and CBS Television Studios.
Thanks to her breakout online video lip-sync impressions of President Donald Trump, Cooper has emerged as the “it” comedy talent of the moment. She just set her first comedy special at Netflix, which is slated to premiere this fall.
Co-written by Cooper and Chupack, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings revolves around three women at different stages in their careers at a male-dominated company who help one another navigate modern gender politics in their careers and in their personal lives.
Cooper and Chupack, who also serves as showrunner, executive produce with PatMa’s Tassler, Di Novi and Joan Boorstein. CBS TV Studios and PatMa co-produce. The project falls under PatMa’s first-look deal with CBS.
Cooper’s “How to Medical” video impression of Trump suggesting that people inject themselves with bleach to stop coronavirus has been viewed more than 20 million times and counting. Prior to her online success, she was a writer and correspondent on the CBS All Access pilot Old News, produced by Stephen Colbert. In addition to How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, Cooper wrote 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. She also was a writer on Science!, the animated series created by Archer’s Neal Holman that aired on Syfy’s animated block. Next up, she is set to write a modern, comedic take on a Dale Carnegie book for Audible Originals.
“I was so excited when PatMa approached me about my book,” said Cooper. “I met with Cindy soon after and we immediately connected to this idea of sharing the experiences of women in their careers and personal lives in a way that stays true to what people love about the book but brings them to life through characters people will identify with. Cindy totally got the sensibility and the satire but she also has the experience of telling compelling stories. I am thrilled to be working with her on this.”
Chupack became known as writer/executive producer on Sex and the City, where several episodes she penned were nominated for Emmy and WGA awards. She most recently served as executive producer on I’m Dying Up Here and consulting producer on Divorce. Her other credits include Modern Family, Men in Trees and Everybody Loves Raymond, among others. Her first feature, Otherhood, starring Angela Bassett, Felicity Huffman and Patricia Arquette, was released on Netflix last year.
“Sarah is a perfect example of ‘preparation meets opportunity,'” said Chupack. “Her Trump lip-syncs fed a laugh-starved nation, but even before she was a household name, she wrote books that showcased her keen eye for the absurd. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with her to adapt How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings into a fresh, funny, subversive comedy about modern sexual politics.”
PatMa also has a limited series adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ 2017 novel A Book of American Martyrs, set up for development at Showtime with Winnie Holzman and Savannah Dooley attached to pen the series. At CBS, PatMa has in contention drama pilot Ways & Means, starring Patrick Dempsey and produced by CBS TV Studios.
“We are thrilled to be working with Sarah Cooper and Cindy Chupack,” said PatMa. “They both have made a tremendous impact on the world of comedy and we are excited to see them bring this to life, and to CBS.”
Chupack is repped by UTA, Lighthouse Management + Media, and Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham. Cooper is repped by WME, AGI Entertainment Media and Management, David Black Agency and Morris Yorn.