Rick James’ Life Becoming A ‘Super Freak’ Limited Series

Rick James
Rick James' life is being made into a limited series by UCP (Image credit: UCP)

The life of funky singer Rick James is being developed into a limited series, tentatively titled Super Freak, by NBCUniversal’s UCP studio.

No network or streaming service is yet attached to the project.

UCP is working with Ty James, daughter of the late performer. She will be an executive producer. The studio is also working with author and reporter Make Sager, who first met Rick James in 1995, when we wrote a profile for Rolling Stone entitled The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak. Sager, who will be an executive producers, and James remained friends until James died in 2004.

Randy McKinnon will write and executive produce, along with Nick Antosca, who has an overall deal with UCP, and Alex Hedlund.

“We are truly ecstatic about this new project with UCP and extremely excited to work with the writer Randy McKinnon,” said Ty James. “We are confident he can give the fans exactly what they have been waiting on, plus some. This will be a magic carpet ride, with ups and downs, joys and pain -- a story of perseverance and tenacity, with the music being the greatest navigation system. Get ready for the ride of your lives -- the story of James A. Johnson, AKA Rick James!”

The biopic will have a true crime angle and chronicle Rick James’ plans for a comeback in the early 1990s amidst a heated trial that threatened to destroy his legacy. The story will touch on timely themes of race, privilege, and the gray area of image vs. reality for celebrities

UCP is making series based on other real life stories. It is currently developing Robin Veith’s Candy, based on the story of killer Candy Montgomery. Elisabeth Moss is set to star, with Antosca and Hedlund executive producing. It is also working on a project about the Brober family, whose daughter was kidnapped multiple times by a family friend and it has Dr. Death, a Peacock series based on a podcast.

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.