Gunpowder & Sky in Deal for College Hoops Series

Content studio Gunpowder & Sky has made a deal with Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz, who were nominated for Oscars for their work on BlacKKKlansman, to develop a new drama series about college basketball titled Madness.

“In BlacKkKlansman, Charlie and David were able to tap into the current national zeitgeist through the artful telling of an unknown story from American history,” said Cody Zwieg, senior VP of production and development at Gunpowder & Sky, whose founders include former MTV exec Van Toffler. “They are treasure hunters of sorts, seeking out and spinning the undiscovered stories that resonate with the social climate of today. For Gunpowder & Sky this is a golden opportunity.”

Madness looks at the corruption at a prestigious basketball team through the eyes of a new assistant coach as the head coach faces the repercussions of making a bad deal. The series will look at the players as students trying to juggle classes and social life, while delving into the secret darkness of the athletic program.

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Madness is a sports story told through the lens of a crime drama,” said Wachtel. “Who are those powerful-looking college basketball coaches, with their suits, their slicked-back hair, and their seven figure salaries? What's it like to be a college freshman suddenly thrust into the national spotlight? And what if the forces behind these multi-million dollar machines were not so different from those behind organized crime? In our world of college sports, there are rules to follow, a hierarchy of power, and real consequences for failure.”

“We're thrilled to be working with Gunpowder & Sky, who has a record of working on projects that take chances and not compromising their vision,” added Rabinowitz. “They knew immediately the kind of show we sought to create and have been incredibly supportive of our vision. It's been a dream of ours to see this show take flight.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in N.Y. and London, Gunpowder & Sky was founded by Toffler and Floris Bauer with Otter Media.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.