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Showtime sweeps up ex-YouTube drama

US cabler Showtime has acquired a drama starring Kirsten Dunst from George Clooney’s prodco that had initially been lined up for YouTube’s subscription streaming service.

Kirsten Dunst

On Becoming a God in Central Florida is from Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures with Sony-backed TriStar Television, and had previously been in development with AMC.

YouTube ordered the series in June last year, before the streamer revealed far-reaching plans to rein in its scripted ambitions and change its strategy around its subscription service.

It has since cancelled a raft of its commissioned scripted output, including shows such as sci-fi thriller Origin and comedy Overthinking with Kat & June.

The shift in strategy prompted Sony to explore other destinations for the show after it was unable to strike a deal to make it available via YouTube’s AVoD service, according to US reports, leading to Showtime’s acquisition.

The 9×60′ series is set near Orlando in the early 1990s and follows a minimum-wage water park employee (Dunst) who schemes her way up a multibillion-dollar pyramid-selling scheme that drives her family to ruin. It will debut on Showtime in August.

Clooney and Grant Heslov will executive produce via Smokehouse Pictures, alongside Dunst and co-creators Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky, who will also write.

Gary Levine, recently promoted to president of entertainment at Showtime, said he had been “immediately drawn to this stylish and subversive female empowerment story starring Kirsten Dunst as you’ve never seen her before.”

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