Adding to the sports-themed shows populating the land of television comes the adaptation of playwright Fernanda Coppel’s King Liz for Showtime.
The play, which had an extended run at Off-Broadway’s Second Stage this summer and featured Karen Pittman (Disgraced), was described as a midsummer surprise.
It is not surprising that Showtime would seek a sports-focused dramedy for its lineup with offerings such as Starz’ LeBron James-produced “Survivor’s Remorse” and HBO’s “Ballers.” Even FOX has a pilot underway with “Fantasy Life” based on the memoir of ESPN’s Matthew Berry.
“King Liz,” which will be adapted by Coppel (who also has written episodes of FX’s “The Bridge” and DirecTV’s “Kingdom), will further take a look into the sports agent world from the perspective of a woman – a Black woman at that.
Sports agent Liz Rico has money and an elite client roster but a woman in a man’s industry has to fight to stay on top. She’s worked twice as hard to get where she is and wants to take over the agency that she’s helped build. Enter Freddie Luna, a high school basketball superstar with a troubled past. If Liz can keep this talented yet volatile young star in line, she just might end up making not only his career, but her own as well. But at what price?
More tackling of isms – with regard to sex, gender, class and age – as well as dialogue on what power and success mean will be brought to the forefront with Coppel’s writing as a foundation.
Coppel’s New York debut was Chimichangas and Zoloft at Atlantic Theater in 2012 – a play published with Samuel French. This year, she received the inaugural Williamstown Theatre Festival New Play Commission. The three-year Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School has won the Asuncion Queer Latino Festival, the 2012 HOLA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting and the 2012 Helen Merrill Award.
In April, Second Stage purchased Helen Hayes Theater – one of the last independently owned Broadway houses – in an effort to present more contemporary plays by America’s living playwrights as well as an emphasis on work by women and artists of color. Shows are expected during the 2017-2018 season.