Filmmaker Richard Linklater has long been admittedly “pretty slow on the TV thing,” as he once said at the Television Critics Association panels back in 2017. However, he’s coming to the small screen with a nonfiction project for CBS All Access, as announced today at the winter TCA event. The streamer has given a series order for “The Untitled Richard Linklater Project,” a docuseries executive-produced by Linklater and documentary filmmaker Bill Guttentag, both of whom are Oscar winners.
The 10-episode series, per CBS, “takes place in and around Austin, Texas, Linklater’s hometown, and will provide a window onto the colorful and diverse world of animal rescue through moving, humorous and powerful stories of animals and the humans who love them.” His last TV foray was the 2012 Hulu travel series “Up to Speed.”
“I come to this project hoping to shine a light on the folks I’ve met who are making a difference everyday in the lives of unwanted, abused and disabled animals,” Linklater said in a statement. “What strikes me most is the joy and discovery on both sides of the relationship between the animals and their human caregivers. These are inspirational stories that I believe will be a positive force in the world.”
The new series joins CBS All Access’ growing slate of original content, including Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone,” plus “The Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight,” “Why Women Kill,” and “Tell Me a Story.” Coming up are “Interrogation,” Stephen King’s “The Stand,” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” CBS All Access is also home to “Star Trek” series “Discovery,” “Lower Decks,” and “Picard.” (Earlier today, CBS announced a cable revival of “The Silence of the Lambs” with “Clarice.”)
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In addition to “The Untitled Richard Linklater Project,” he will also direct a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” with stars Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein. Sondheim’s 1981 musical is based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and it takes place across 20 years, with sources saying that Linklater will maintain fidelity to that timeline for a decades-spanning production, a la his 2014 Oscar winner “Boyhood.”
“The Untitled Richard Linklater Project” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Dr. Phil’s Stage 29, Linklater’s Detour Filmproduction, and Guttentag and Nayeema Raza’s 1891 Productions.