Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge
The story of Uber’s messy, meteoric transformation from tech startup to dominant player in the global transportation industry is being developed into a limited television series by the co-creators and showrunners of good television show Billions. The new show will be adapted from New York Times reporter Mike Isaac’s recent book, Super Pumped, and it will focus on former Uber CEO and founder Travis Kalanick.
If the series roughly traces the arc of the book, Billions showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien could follow the famously pugnacious founder’s path from serial entrepreneur to his horrid final year of running Uber in 2017, which was marked by ceaseless scandal. Kalanick’s final act as CEO of Uber also seems like fodder for Koppelman and Levien, as it involved the kind of boardroom drama the showrunning duo have indulged in across four seasons of Billions.
hi im really excited for [email protected] and @DavidLevien are singular talents and i can’t believe i get to work with them and @Showtime to make SUPER PUMPED a show! pic.twitter.com/I9sjaBWnBK— rat king (@MikeIsaac) October 16, 2019
Showtime Entertainment president Jana Winograde said as much to The Hollywood Reporter, framing the story of Uber as one “rich in plot twists, one-of-a-kind personalities and important implications for corporate America,” and calling it “a case study of ingenuity and insanity.”
Details of the project are still being worked out before it heads into pre-production. It’s not the only Uber project in the works, either. Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s infamous 2017 blog post, which detailed some of the company’s discriminatory and misogynistic exploits, is being developed for the big screen.
Should Koppelman and Levien’s adaptation get picked up by Showtime, it will also be interesting to see if it touches on Isaac’s own involvement in the final act of Super Pumped. Without giving too much away, Isaac became something of an unwitting pawn in the corporate drama surrounding Kalanick’s ouster, which he details in his book. If they do include this part of Super Pumped, one can only hope Showtime casts the Charmin bear for the role of Isaac.