This week Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht announced that the network has ordered six half-hour episodes of the scripted drama “Sweetbitter,” based on the national best-selling novel of the same name written by Stephanie Danler ($11 on Amazon).
“Stephanie’s smart, sensory and genuine storytelling is set in the world of high-end dining, fueled by too much debauchery, drugs and French wine,” said Albrecht. “Stephanie, Stu and Plan B have found an exciting way to translate the celebration of senses depicted in the book to the screen, and along the way, will post a love letter to New York City. We look forward to announcing our Tess, Jake, Simone and Howard soon.”
Previously announced as a development project for the network in July, Danler has written the script for the first episode. Stu Zicherman (“The Americans,” “The Affair,” “Six Degrees”) joins Danler, and both will serve as executive producers along with Plan B Entertainment. Donna Bloom will serve as producer on the six-episode freshman season. Laura Rosenthal is currently leading the ongoing casting search.
“This has already been a thrilling ride, and I can’t wait for everyone to see how we expanded the world and characters beyond the book,” said Danler. “I’ve been working with the most brilliant and generous people, and am extremely grateful. It’s an honor to show up to work every day.”
“Sweetbitter” follows 22-year-old Tess who, shortly after arriving in New York City, lands a job at a celebrated downtown restaurant. Swiftly introduced to the world of drugs, alcohol, love, lust, dive bars, and fine dining, she learns to navigate the chaotically alluring, yet punishing life she has stumbled upon. This is the story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the rich and grimy backdrop of exclusive restaurants, conjuring a nonstop and high-adrenaline world evoking the possibility, beauty, and fragility of being young and adrift.
Starz retains all global distribution and home entertainment rights to the series. Senior Vice President of Original Programming Ken Segna, Vice President of Original Programming Patrick McDonald and Senior Coordinator of Original Programming Samantha Offsay are the Starz executives in charge of “Sweetbitter.”