Okay, “desperately” may be a little strong, but now that we’re in an age in which SXSW Interactive overshadows its music and film festival siblings, in which photo-sharing app Instagram is worth a billion dollars, in which we seem to be floating in the middle of a new dot-com bubble, doesn’t it also seem time for us to have a scripted series set at a startup?
The few shows there have been so far have been reality-based, like Bloomberg TV’s “TechStars” or MOJO’s “Start-up Junkies.” People staring at laptops may not be inherently TV-friendly, but the idea of a multi-million dollar business based on a potentially frivolous idea being run by hoodie-wearing twenty-year-olds definitely is.
Armando Iannucci, whose new HBO series “Veep” starts on Sunday, has been working on “Couldn’t Be Better,” a series set at an internet startup, for several years. As Ian Parker reporter in his New Yorker profile of Iannucci: “HBO commissioned a script, which Iannucci wrote with Tony Roche, but the project was tabled after the financial crash of 2008. Iannucci said, ‘We thought, Do people really want to watch a comedy about people loving being rich? And then ‘The Social Network’ came out, and we thought, Oh, they do.'”
Iannucci, who has a masterful ability to skewer petty workplace politics and power jockeying, seems a great fit to take on this world. I asked him whether it was true that “Couldn’t Be Better” has a good chance of being revived, and he told me “I’m hoping to. Now that ‘Veep’ is up and running, HBO and I are going to be talking about ‘Couldn’t Be Better’ and seeing where we could take that. I’d love to do it. The fact that twentysomethings could be billionaires the next day, but also that what they do has such reach internationally. It touches so many lives and yet it is just a lot of young people sitting by monitors and tapping on keyboards.”
Check out our interview with Iannucci about “Veep” here.