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HBO options yet-to-be-written coronavirus book for drama series

AT&T’s premium movie network HBO has optioned rights that could lead to the development of a coronavirus-inspired dramatic series.

Trade publication Deadline reported on Monday that the WarnerMedia subsidiary had optioned “The First Shot,” a book about the global race by scientists to find a cure for the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Deadline said film producer Adam McKay will serve as the executive producer of “The Untitled Vaccine Project” alongside the book’s author Brendan Borrell and producer Todd Schulman.

An option is a limited agreement that gives an individual or production limited rights to a story, screenplay or idea while the company lines up the necessary ingredients to turn it into a full-fledged movie or TV series.

The existence of an option doesn’t necessarily mean a movie or series will develop, but McKay and Schulman’s stature within the entertainment industry and their willingness to sign on makes it more likely than not that a project will come together in some form.

What the series might look like is anyone’s guess — Borrell is still writing it after securing a publishing agreement with Houston Mifflin Harcourt. As of Monday, his website was still asking people to email him with story ideas for the book.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).