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Working Title Television has nabbed rights to Stacey Abrams’ new novel While Justice Sleeps. The NBCUniversal-backed producer won the rights in a competitive battle and will adapt it as a television series.
The legal thriller, which is being published today by Penguin Random House, follows a Supreme Court justice whose descent into a coma plunges the court, and the country, into turmoil.
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It follows Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, who is doing her best to hold her life together; excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Wynn – the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases – has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney.
Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court—a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.
This is the first novel published under Abrams’ real name. She has previously written eight romance novels under the pen name Selena Montgomery.
Abrams is widely credited with helping Joe Biden win the presidential election by boosting turnout in Georgia and playing a key role in giving Democrats control over the Senate.
Abrams will exec produce the TV series with Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Katy Rozelle, Working Title Television’s Head of TV for the U.S., is overseeing development and also serves as executive producer.
“I created While Justice Sleeps to unravel a political mystery about power and secrets through the eyes of a protagonist dealing with her own demons. I am excited about the book’s release today, and I look forward to working with Working Title Television and Universal Studio Group to bring the intriguing world of Avery Keene to television,” Abrams said.
“After weathering the competitive storm to secure Stacey’s novel, we are elated to have come out on top,” added Bevan, co-chairman of Working Title Television. “This is one of those rare moments when the opportunity feels right, and we look forward to developing this thrilling project with the multihyphenate Abrams.”
“As the media landscape continues to flourish with infinite content, we are excited to embark on this journey with Stacey, who has played an instrumental role in the American narrative and now, television industry,” Universal Studio Group chairman Pearlena Igbokwe said. “We look forward to bringing a level of authenticity, cultural representation and universal storytelling to this project, which we believe audiences will enjoy.”
Abrams is represented by UTA, which brokered the deal, and The Loewenthal Company.
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