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TV shows about troubled startups Theranos, WeWork, Uber to premiere on Hulu, Apple TV Plus and Showtime in 2022

SF Gate logo SF Gate 1/20/2022 Dan Gentile

There's almost nothing that whets the appetite of the tech world quite like the emergence of a new "unicorn," the Silicon Valley slang for a company valued at $1 billion. But for the general public, it's often more fun to watch a unicorn crash and burn.

The entertainment industry's fascination with these spectacular failures isn't necessarily new. The stories of the downfall of companies like Theranos have already been told in documentaries, podcasts and best-selling nonfiction accounts, but now in early 2022, scripted television producers have finally arrived at the party.

Although Netflix has yet to jump on the trend with any startup disaster shows, most of their competitors are heavily promoting series based on companies that have become household names. Hulu will launch "The Dropout," based on the saga of recently convicted Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, Showtime's "Super-Pumped" series will focus on Uber's dysfunctional rise, and Apple TV Plus recounts the downfall of WeWork, which has also recently been chronicled in an explosive Hulu documentary.

Here's the details on all three shows.

'Super Pumped'


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Showtime, Feb. 27

In September of 2019, Mike Isaac's best-selling book "Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber" pulled back the curtain on the ousting of controversial Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The cautionary tale is now being adapted for a Showtime anthology series, which is slated to chronicle a different company each season. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star as Kalanick, while Kyle Chandler (aka Coach Taylor from "Friday Night Lights") will bring back his good ol' boy accent as a Texas venture capitalist. Uma Thurman will play Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington. "Billions" creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien will executive producer and write, alongside Beth Schacter ("Soundtrack"). Details of the release schedule have yet to become public, but at least one episode is slated to drop Feb. 27.

'The Dropout'

Hulu, March 3

Of all the tales of technological grifters, few have captured the attention of the news quite like that of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Kate McKinnon was originally cast as Holmes, but she departed from production in early 2021 and was replaced by Amanda Seyfried, who has a long list of television credits ranging from "Veronica Mars" to "Big Love," as well as a large role in 2020's "Mank." Elizabeth Meriwether, a veteran TV writer behind "New Girl" and "Single Parents," serves as showrunner, and Michael Showalter, of "Wet Hot American Summer" and "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," will direct and executive produce. The first three episodes will be released all at once, followed by eight more episodes airing every Thursday.

'WeCrashed'

Apple TV Plus, March 18

Based on a podcast of the same name, "WeCrashed" stars Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as Adam and Rebekah Neumann, the power couple behind the zealous co-working company WeWork. The show will be led by Lee Eisenberg, who wrote and directed several episodes of "The Office," as well as the criminally overlooked 2019 coming-of-age comedy "Good Boys." America Ferrera of "Superstore" will also appear, as well as O-T Fagbenle from "Handmaid's Tale." The series is scheduled to come out of the gate with three episodes, followed by an episode a week for five weeks.

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