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THE GOOD LIFE: The social observations of Richard Kirshenbaum may soon be coming to a small screen. Kirshenbaum’s column — “Isn’t That Rich?” — which he pens for The New York Observer, has been optioned for a TV show.
“Truthfully we’re saying that reality is better than fiction. This very much tracks the same path that Candace Bushnell had in a lot of ways. There are a lot of parallels to ‘Sex and The City.’ It’s a 30-minute comedy, scripted,” said producer Jay Peterson, cofounder of Matador, who optioned the intellectual property and the idea of the column.
Kirshenbaum, cofounder of Kirshenbaum, Bond + Partners and now chief executive officer of NSG/Swat who wrote the memoir “Madboy,” started writing a monthly column for the Observer last spring, providing humorous glimpses into the life of the superrich. Topics have ranged from how billionaires are ruining New York for the merely wealthy to kids’ chauffeurs becoming the new dads to why rich folks leave the Hamptons every summer for Europe.
“I cannot believe what people tell me and what they will reveal. People know I’ll be discreet and I’m not naming names,” said Kirshenbaum, noting that his column is about people who live between East 65th and East 96th Streets, between Park and Madison Avenues.
According to Peterson, the pilot would introduce Kirshenbaum’s character, who was a very successful ad man, sold his advertising agency and ended up living on the Upper East Side, traveling in this extreme, extravagant world. He also feels like an outsider and is looking for his next project. “This Observer column comes to him, and he wrestles with it. ‘I think it sounds really fun, and I’d be really good at it, but will I turn myself into a social pariah if I start showing my access?”’ said Peterson. Much to the chagrin of his wife and friends, Kirshenbaum writes his first article and instead of becoming a social pariah, “everyone embraces it and wants to tell their crazy story to him,” said Peterson.
He added that they are close to naming “a fancy writer” for the series, and then will take it to distributors. “Our dream is the Sunday night HBO space. HBO, Showtime, Starz.…”
Would the TV series star Kirshenbaum? “No, while Richard is very engaging and awesome, we’d go for a professional,” said Peterson.
“As long as he’s handsome with a big nose, it’ll be great,” added Kirshenbaum.