Deadline have reported that Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald – the team behind Netflix hit Cobra Kai – have won a bidding war for the rights to Marc Fisher’s Washington Post article; “Powerball Mystery: Someone in this tiny town won $731 million. Now everyone wants a piece of it.” They are planning to adapt it into a half-hour comedy series.
The article was published in June 2021 and details how the fifth-biggest lottery jackpot in US history was won by a syndicate in a poverty-stricken small town in Maryland. Maryland is one of only seven US states that allows lottery winners anonymity, meaning that speculation is now rife in the town – that has a population of only 1,200. The ticket was bought in January, but the winnings were not claimed until May – by a group of unknown size calling themselves the Power Pack.
Even with this information, residents of the town have still hounded one particular couple that they believe are the winners, prompting them to have to make a statement in the local paper declaring that they are not. It is easy to see how this story has the makings of an entertaining TV show, as it bears some similarities to Schitt’s Creek.
Cobra Kai has been a sleeper hit for Netflix since they picked the show up from where it originated – on YouTube. It is a sequel to the Karate Kid movies, with the two main original actors picking up their roles over 30 years later. Season 3 topped Netflix’s viewing list in 28 countries and the Nielsen streaming chart. The fourth season starts in December 2021 and it has already been picked up for a fifth.
The creators and showrunners of Cobra Kai have significant comedy chops behind them, with Heald writing Hot Tub Time Machine, and Hurwitz and Schlossberg being the writers behind the Harold and Kumar franchise. The trio now have an overall deal with Sony Pictures TV, and are developing several projects with them.
It will be interesting to see where they take this tale of small-town lottery winners trying to remain under the radar, as the comedic potential seems huge.