Patti LuPone and Erinn Hayes have been tapped as the adult leads in OK Boomer, a multi-camera comedy pilot from creator Todd Linden (Happy Endings, Alexa & Katie), the late Jamie Tarses’ Fanfare and Sony Pictures TV where the company continues to be based.
Written by Linden and to be directed by Victor Gonzalez (Last Man Standing, The Neighborhood), OK Boomer centers on Barbara (LuPone), a self-centered boomer who shows up at her estranged daughter Sarah’s (Hayes) house hoping to live off the family’s money, but forms an unexpected bond with her progressive granddaughter who’s quick to challenge her on their differing views — of which there are plenty.
The project’s executive producers includes Vanessa McCarthy, who serves as showrunner, and Tarses, who died last month at the age of 56. Linden and Fanfare’s McCrae Dunlap co-executive produce.
OK Boomer exemplifies what made Tarses a great executive and later a great producer. As her former boss and mentor at NBC, Warren Littlefield, said at the time of her death, “She had the ability to make writers feel safe and to get the most out of them.”
The HBO Max comedy originated as an old script Linden had developed with Tarses, who had championed it, at Sony TV. It had fallen through the cracks and long forgotten until last year when, while the studio’s comedy team worked with Linden on another project, they brought it up. After reading the OK Boomer script again, everyone felt that the script still held up well and Linden, Tarses and Sony TV set out to try and sell it. Through Linden’s relationship at HBO Max, the script landed there though the streamer wanted to make a creative change. While the original script focused on the mother, Sarah, and the grandmother, Barbara, HBO Max wanted to redevelop the show as told through the point of view of the teenage granddaughter.
Tarses is credited with cracking the new concept. She and Linden spent hours and hours bouncing off ideas until the project was successfully reshaped to address the notes from HBO Max.
Linden and Tarses delivered the rewrite to the streamer where it sailed through with virtually no notes from development executives. Shortly after the new script was submitted to HBO Max, Tarses suffered a cardiac event in early fall and slipped into a coma that she never got out of.
The OK Boomer script was quietly picked up to pilot in late 2020 and began casting, attracting LuPone and Hayes. (Tarses also could not witness the breakout December debut and Season 2 renewal of The Wilds or the great pre-launch buzz for The Mysterious Benedict Society, which was recently moved from Hulu to Disney+).
The Fanfare development slate Tarses left behind has a few more projects that are active and could get green lights. I hear close friends of Tarses in the industry have been quietly helping to shepherd them behind the scenes, determined to get as many as possible to fruition.
Linden’s series credits also include the upcoming Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. He is repped by Dianne Fraser at Industry Entertainment.
Hayes, who recurs on the Sony TV-produced ABC series The Goldbergs, was nominated for an Emmy for her starring role on Childrens Hospital and reprised her role in the spin-off Medical Police for Netflix. Her series credits include CBS/Sony TV’s Kevin Can Wait and Netflix’s Huge In France. She also co-starred opposite Keanu Reeves in the film Bill & Ted Face the Music. She is repped by by Innovative Artists and Sweeney Entertainment.
LuPone won the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical twice, for Evita in 1980 and for Gypsy in 2008. Her TV credits include memorable turns on Netflix’s Hollywood, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, HBO’s Girls, and FX’s American Horror Story and Pose. In features and stage, she was most recently seen in Paul Feig’s Last Christmas and the Broadway revival of Company (she won an Olivier Award for the show’s London run). She is repped by Echo Lake Entertainment and Jeanne Newman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman & Warren.
Gonzalez, the primary series director of Last Man Standing, has a development deal with Kapital Entertainment. He’s repped by Paradigm.