Nick Hornby’s New Ten-Minute Show

The Nick Hornby drama State of the Union begins on SundanceTV May 6. Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike play a married couple getting counseling. Ten minutes before their counseling sessions, they meet in a pub for a drink and a talk.

Each episode, set in the pub, runs for ten minutes.

Hornby made his name as a novelist, authoring the classics High Fidelity and About a Boy. Next up for him is a novel called Just Like You, which he describes as a contemporary love story set amidst the Brexit age. He said that should be out this year.

His screenwriting projects include the films Brooklyn and An Education.

Hornby said he’d long thought about writing about therapy, but felt the moments before the session provide a richer setting. After all, you speak your mind before therapy, and probably say what you’re supposed to say once in front of the therapist.

“The time before they go in is in some ways more dramatically interesting because it’s chaos,” he said. “That seemed fun to write about.”

Hornby’s High Fidelity is becoming a series on Hulu. John Cusack of course played the lead, a perpetually angry record shop owner with a thing for top-five lists, in the 2000 movie. Zoe Kravitz has the lead role in the series. Jesse Peretz, who directed the film adaptation of Hornby’s Juliet, Naked, directs the pilot.

About a Boy was a 2002 film starring Hugh Grant. A show ran for two seasons on NBC, starting in 2014. Jason Katims created the series.

In State of the Union, O’Dowd and Pike would prepare for the next day’s shoot by splitting a bottle of wine in the Thatched House Pub where it's shot, located in the Chiswick neighborhood in southwest London, and going over their lines. “They’ve very good about telling me what’s sayable and what’s not sayable,” said Hornby, “or what’s funny and what’s not funny.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.