HBO Max is now developing an all-new drama anthology series detailing various scandals of the United States. Deadline has confirmed that the show, entitled Verbatim, will focus on the 2019 college admissions scandal for its pilot.
The 2019 college admissions scandal surrounds a conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions for several of the nation’s top universities. Several parents allegedly paid the scheme’s mastermind, Rick Singer, hundreds of thousands of dollars for him to allegedly bribe universities and create fake transcripts for their children. Infamously, actress Lori Laughlin (Full House) was implicated in the scandal. This week, federal prosecutors recommended that she serve 2 months in prison for her role in the conspiracy.
Verbatim: What is a Photocopier? was originally a 2014 short film covering a real-life court dispute over the purpose of a photocopier. The film, which won the audience award at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival, was acclaimed for its commitment to accuracy. Describing the film’s unique style to The New York Times, series creator Brett Weiner (co-creator of Honest Trailers) said “In this short film, I sought to creatively reinterpret the original events … My primary rule was the performance had to be verbatim — no words could be modified or changed from the original legal transcripts.”
Weiner shot the film using only the court case’s transcript as the script. Verbatim would be produced by The New York Times as a new digital series, covering a variety of issues over the years, such the Ferguson protests of 2014. Should HBO Max greenlight Verbatim as an all-new series, its potential future episodes will focus on other controversies and conspiracies. Only the pilot episode will be based on this admissions scandal.
Weiner will return to write and direct the pilot. It is unknown when the series will begin production.