Commentary

'Texas Monthly,' HBO-HBO Max Team For First-Look Deal

Magazines can get more mileage — and lucrative residuals — from printed stories that make it to the screen.

The latest example is Texas Monthly’s three-year first-look deal with HBO and its streamer, HBO Max.

Limited series “Love & Death” is currently in production for HBO Max and premieres in 2022, though no date has been determined. It’s based on a Texas Monthly press book, “Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs,and a collection of articles from the state’s acclaimed monthly.

“Love & Death” is a true-crime story about suburban housewife Candy Montgomery, who killed her friend Betty Gore with an ax in 1980. David E. Kelley, who has created a slew of award-winning TV shows, such as “Goliath,” “Big Little Lies,” “Picket Fences” and “Boston Legal,” will write the series, as well as executive produce, alongside Nicole Kidman.

Elizabeth Olsen (“Sorry for Your Loss”) stars as Montgomery. Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”) will play Gore. Montgomery had been having an affair with the victim’s husband and the couples were friends. The women sang in the church choir together.

The series’ director, Dallas native Lesli Linka Glatter, worked on the acclaimed political thriller Homeland.

What makes “Love & Death” so compelling?

Scott Brown, Texas Monthly president, tells TV Watch it is “a classic Texas Monthly story. Fascinating Texans involved in circumstances so outrageous they would be nearly impossible to make up.”

HBO isn’t the first streamer to find the story arresting. Hulu will also run the scripted series “Candy,” starring Jessica Biel (“The Illusionist”), next year.

Another magazine story, “When ‘Angels in America’ Came to East Texas,” about Kilgore College’s production of Tony Kushner’s AIDS play, is also in development at HBO Max.

The award-winning monthly covers all aspects of the Lone Star State, from politics to food, business to arts to its colorful personalities.

Texas Monthly is represented in Hollywood by the Creative Artists Agency.

"In the last two years, the magazine has sold more than two dozen articles and podcasts now in various stages of development and production. We have titles in the pipeline at HBO and HBO Max, Apple, ABC, Discovery Plus, Netflix, Paramount and Starz," adds Brown. It also has aligned with A-list partners, such as George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Renée Zellweger.

Texas Monthly has won numerous National Magazine Awards, including four for General Excellence.

The pub claims a monthly audience of more than 20 million from combined platforms: print, video, podcasts, books and live events. The magazine pegs its readership at 2.5 million and a paid circulation of 300,000 as of 2020.

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