Though the war for quality programming between HBO and Netflix still rages, the premium cable network can claim victory in this battle. HBO has won a bidding war for David E. Kelley’s limited series Big Little Lies, to star Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
Based on the book by Liane Moriarty, which was published in July of last year, the series will tell the dark, twisted tale of three women, all with children at the same preschool in an Australian suburb, whose lives converge and collide in unexpected ways, with deadly results. Moriary’s book was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller, and Kidman and Witherspoon have been eyeing the project to star in since August, when their respective Blossom Films and Pacific Standard banners optioned the rights.
Kelley, who was most recently the showrunner on CBS’ Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones, will pen the script and exec-produce alongside the two actresses.
This is just the latest murder mystery for HBO, which is prepping the second season of True Detective for a June bow and recently aired The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst to unanimous acclaim and huge numbers once Durst’s case was re-opened and the real estate heir arrested.
It’s also not the first HBO series to be set in a small town with big secrets. The premium cable network just finished airing a two-night adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s oil-black social satire The Casual Vacancy.
Big Little Lies would have been a big get for any network, but HBO’s acquisition cements it as the premiere destination for A-listers looking to exercise their dramatic muscles on the small screen. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson started the recent exodus of big-name actors to television by starring in the first season of True Detective, and HBO’s future slate will continue it by drawing on Hollywood talents like Jack Black, Tim Robbins and Carla Gugino (this summer’s The Brink), Dwayne Johnson (Ballers), Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright (all for Westworld), Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener (for mini Show Me A Hero), and Helena Bonham Carter and Rebecca Hall (for Codes of Conduct).
Big Little Lies will likely air sometime next year.