EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Television has put in development Unsportsmanlike Conduct, a limited series based on Walter Byers’ book Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes. The project hails from Cobra Kai co-executive producers Joe Piarulli and Luan Thomas, series creators/exec producers/showrunners Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg and their Counterbalance Entertainment, Sharon Hall (Euphoria) and Jon Steinberg (The Rookie). Prolific, Emmy-nominated TV director Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland) is set to direct and executive produce.
Written by Piarulli and Thomas, Unsportsmanlike Conduct follows Walter Byers, the first executive director of the National College Athletic Association. In the tone of The Big Short and Wolf of Wall Street, Unsportsmanlike Conduct will span three decades, during which Byers transformed a toothless non-profit into one of the most profitable organizations in history while examining the cost of turning college sports into a lucrative business enterprise. .
Piarulli and Thomas executive produce with Glatter. Hall via her Mom De Guerre Productions, Counterbalance Entertainment’s Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg along with Steinberg. Counterbalance’s head of development Dina Hillier will serve as a producer.
Piarulli and Thomas have been writing partners for decades. The duo are currently co-executive producers of Cobra Kai which is heading into its third season on Netflix. Their credits also include It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, F is for Family, The Tick and Galavant.
Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg are the creators, executive producers and showrunners of Cobra Kai. Heald is best known for creating and writing the Hot Tub Time Machine film franchise. Hurwitz & Schlossberg are the writing/directing/producing team behind the Harold & Kumar movies, as well as the hit comedies Blockers and American Reunion. The trio is currently developing for television via their production company, Counterbalance Entertainment, under their overall deal at Sony Pictures Television.
Glatter is coming off the eighth and final season of Homeland, earning a 2020 Emmy nomination for the series finale, her sixth career Emmy nom overall. Glatter, a two-time DGA Award winner, also has directed series including Twin Peaks, The West Wing and Freaks and Geeks as well as the pilots of Gilmore Girls and Pretty Little Liars.
Hall is currently executive producer on Gillian Flynn’s upcoming Amazon series Utopia as well as The Expanse, also for Amazon. Hall previously served as President, Endemol Shine Studios, the company behind Audience Network’s Kingdom and Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here. Hall also served as President, Alcon Television Group, where she launched the studio’s TV division in 2012.
Steinberg is an executive producer on ABC’s The Rookie. He also has several other television projects in development, including The Receiver set up at ABC, with Don Todd as showrunner, and Beirut Rules at Sony, with Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa executive producing.