HBO Developing College Athlete Comedy PLAYERS with Tom Hanks, Medical Drama WICHITA with Alan Ball

     October 22, 2011


HBO has recently landed some heavy hitters with the incomparable Tom Hanks and the bankable Alan Ball both developing projects for the network. Hanks, teamed with long-time producing partner Gary Goetzman, will reunite with the network for Players, a half-hour comedy following the lives of college athletes.

Ball is switching tactics from the campy, sexy success of True Blood to develop Wichita, an hour-long medical drama about a Kansas abortion doctor caught at the nexus of a political, cultural and ethical conflict. Ball will executive produce the project, based on the life of Dr. George Tiller, along with Devin Friedman, who authored the related GQ article “Savior vs. Savior.” Hit the jump for more on both projects.

tom-hanks-imageTHR provided us with the details on both HBO projects, Players and Wichita.  For Hanks and Goetzman, both executive producers on Players, this will be the fifth time working with HBO. Their other successful endeavors include Emmy-winners Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Golden Globe-winner Big Love.

Wichita will dramatize the life of Dr. George Tiller, the former medical director of the Women’s Health Care Services facility in Wichita, Kansas. One of few physicians to perform late-term abortions, Tiller survived one assassination attempt in 1993, but succumbed to another in 2009. Anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder was tried and convicted of the murder just last year.

Ball, who is an HBO darling, having executive produced both True Blood and Six Feet Under, also has another project with the network. On HBO’s sister station Cinemax, Ball will executive produce Banshee. Set in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, Banshee follows an ex-con who impersonates the murdered sheriff of a small town in order to serve his own interests and dole out his own particular brand of justice.