EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Peacock has landed Poker Face, a mystery drama starring Russian Doll‘s Natasha Lyonne from Rian Johnson, his T-Street banner and MRC Television, with a 10-episode straight-to-series order.
This marks the first TV series for Knives Out and Start Wars filmmaker Johnson who is the creator, writer and director of Poker Face and will also executive produce alongside T-Street partner Ram Bergman and the company’s television president Nena Rodrigue. Lyonne will serve as an executive producer via her Animal Pictures. The company’s Maya Rudolph and Danielle Renfrew Behrens will co-executive produce.
“Rian Johnson’s distinct sensibility and talent for telling edge-of-your-seat mysteries is a massive gift for Peacock, and we can’t wait for audiences to delve into each case,” said Lisa Katz, President, Scripted Content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “Paired with the acting genius of Natasha Lyonne, this series will be entertaining and addictive.”
No details of the premise have been revealed but Johnson lifted the curtain on what the show will be about.
“I’m very excited to dig into the type of fun, character driven, case-of-the-week mystery goodness I grew up watching. It’s my happy place,” he said. “Having Natasha as a partner in crime is a dream, and we’ve found the perfect home at Peacock.”
Poker Face marks the fourth straight-to-series order for MRC Television over the last year, in which the TV business has been battered by the pandemic. It joins The Terminal List for Amazon, starring Chris Pratt, Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Riley Keough and Jeanne Tripplehorn, which is in production; limited series Shrink Next Door for Apple, starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Kathryn Hahn, Casey Wilson, which is also in production; and Shining Girls, headlined by Elisabeth Moss, also for Apple. The Terminal List and Shrink Next Door are co-productions with Civic Center Media, the joint venture between UTA and MRC; Shining Girls is a collaboration with Appian Way.
“Rian is a gifted writer and director who draws you in with his unique approach to mystery and we’re so proud to partner with him, and Ram, and to have Natasha Lyonne as our lead, and land this phenomenal show at Peacock with a talented team,” MRC Television President Elise Henderson said.
Poker Face stems from T-Street’s first-look deal across film and television with MRC, which is is a minority investor in the company.
Johnson received an Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for Knives Out, which earned more than $300M worldwide. Johnson’s other recent credits include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and Looper. T-Street was launched in 2019 by Johnson and Bergman. The duo is currently preparing the follow-up to Knives Out, which Johnson is writing and directing; and they are producing upcoming Netflix series Three Body Problem alongside David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo. T-Street is repped by CAA and attorney Stephen Clark.
Poker Face will not interfere with Lyonne’s duties as co-creator, writer, director, executive producer and star of Netflix’s Russian Doll, for which she earned Golden Globe and Emmy acting nominations. The series is currently in production on its second season. Lyonne also recently executive produced and directed Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine, produced by Animal Pictures, and can currently be seen in Lee Daniels’ United Stated vs Billie Holiday. Lyonne is repped by WME, 3 Arts and Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.
MRC Television, a division of MRC, is also currently in production on the fourth and final season of Ozark for Netflix, the second season of The Great for Hulu.