John / June 18th, 2019

The Kirsten Dunst-led dark comedy series “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” is moving to its third network home.

The one-hour series has been acquired by Showtime after it had previously been ordered to series at YouTube Premium while having first been in development at AMC. The nine-episode first season is set to debut on Aug. 25 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

The series stars Dunst, Théodore Pellerin, Beth Ditto, Mel Rodriguez, and Ted Levine. Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky created and executive produce the series. George Clooney and Grant Heslov also executive produce under their Smokehouse Pictures banner along with Dunst, Charlie McDowell, and Esta Spalding. Spalding also serves as showrunner while McDowell directed the pilot. Sony’s TriStar TV will produce.

The series was a passion project for the late Suzanne Patmore Gibbs, who was the head of TriStar TV at the time of her death last March. The well-respected development executive was said to be heavily involved with the project before her death. Sarah Shepard of Smokehouse is also said to have been a champion of the show throughout the development process.

“We were immediately drawn to this stylish and subversive female empowerment story starring Kirsten Dunst as you’ve never seen her before,” said Gary Levine, co-president co-president of entertainment for Showtime. “Throw in clever writing, inventive filmmaking, a strong, diverse ensemble and some alligators, and we’re confident Showtime audiences will find ‘On Becoming a God’ irresistible!”

The acquisition comes as YouTube has dramatically scaled back its original scripted series slate. Aside from the recent third season renewal for the hit series “Cobra Kai,” YouTube has canceled shows such as “Champaign ILL,” “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” “Sideswiped,” “Do You Want to See a Dead Body,” “Overthinking with Kat & June,” “Youth & Consequences,” and “Origin.”

Set in a small Orlando-adjacent town in 1992, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” follows Krystal Stubbs (Dunst), a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM) — the cultish, flag-waving, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her to ruin in the first place, run by the powerful Obie Garbeau II (Levine). Determined to make a better life for herself, Krystal dives deep into FAM and develops a tangled relationship with FAM’s most loyal and fanatical follower Cody (Pellerin), until her business begins to affect those closest to her, including Ernie (Rodriguez), her affable water park boss, and his FAM-skeptic wife Bets (Ditto).

The cast also includes Usman Ally, Julie Benz, Melissa De Sousa, John Earl Jelks, Sharon Lawrence, Josh Fadem, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Alexander Skarsgård, and Mary Steenburgen.

Joe Otterson, variety.com



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