The Hollywood Reporter broke the news today that ABC Studios bought the rights to France’s documentary, which looks at the early years of the AIDS epidemic and how the advocacy groups ACT UP and TAG worked to lower the cost of H.I.V. treatment drug AZT, push new treatments through the approval process and bring attention to the devastation the disease was causing to the gay community.
ABC’s looking at developing a scripted miniseries adapted from “How to Survive a Plague,” which would be the first in years for the network that ran the seminal “Roots” in 1977. It would build on the stories told in the doc. “We know we’d like it to be an extended story that’s not just about AIDS and what AIDS wrought but about this tremendous civil rights movement that grew from the ashes of AIDS and the dawn of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement,” France said to the Hollywood Reporter.
The fact that “Roots” aired on ABC was part of the appeal of the network for France, who mentioned his desire to “be that for the gay community.” France, Howard Gertler and John Lyons will executive produce the project, which is indicative of the renewed interest networks are having in the miniseries as a form thanks to the success of History’s “Hatfields & McCoys” and the rise of the “limited series.”