Six-episode show is based on popular ABC Radio podcast “The Dropout,” which focused on the three-year investigation that brought down clinical laboratory test developer Theranos
While former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes awaits the start of her August 31 criminal fraud trial in a federal court in Northern California, one streaming video service is lining up a star-studded cast to tell the story of the Silicon Valley executive’s fall from grace and the demise of her clinical laboratory blood-testing company.
This six-part series is being produced by Hulu, an on-demand video streaming service offering live and on-demand content. Back in 2019, it announced that it would produce the “The Dropout,” a limited series chronicling Holmes’ rise and fall from Founder and CEO of $9 billion tech company Theranos to criminal defendant.
Hulu says the series will launch this fall, so pathologists and medical laboratory managers have time to set their recorders to capture what may be a compelling story of hubris that took investors and the news media on a wild ride. The Theranos publicity machine was so effective that many hospital CEOs went to their clinical laboratory administrators and told them to delay equipment purchases because Theranos would be able to do the same medical laboratory tests at just pennies on the existing lab-cost dollar.
Holmes’ carefully-crafted public image as Theranos’ CEO drew comparisons to the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Business Insider noted. This has made her a popular topic not only among clinical laboratory scientists but also Hollywood moviemakers.
“The Dropout” took its inspiration from the ABC Audio podcast of the same name, hosted by ABC Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. The ABC Audio podcast’s description provides a glimpse into the direction the miniseries will take.
“Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as ‘the next Steve Jobs’ find herself facing criminal charges—to which she pleaded not guilty—and up to 20 years in jail? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize healthcare, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way?” the ABC Audio website states.
The Hulu series originally was to star “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon as Holmes but was recast with Amanda Seyfried in the starring role. According to Variety, the series will include a notable lineup of guest stars including:
- William H. Macy,
- Laurie Metcalf,
- Elizabeth Marvel,
- Utkarsh Ambudkar,
- Kate Burton,
- Stephen Fry,
- Michel Gill,
- Michael Ironside,
- Bill Irwin, and
- Josh Pais.
A release date for the limited series has not yet been announced, Town and Country reported.
The ‘Real World’ Wall Street Journal Investigation of Theranos and Holmes
Dark Daily has reported extensively on the Holmes/Theranos saga, including the recent development that Holmes’ repeatedly-delayed trial would be pushed back from mid-July to August 31 because Holmes is due to give birth in July.
Theranos’ alleged deceptions first were brought to light in a series of 2015 investigative reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Then-WSJ investigative reporter John Carreyrou alleged Theranos had not disclosed publicly that the vast majority of its tests were not being done with proprietary technology, but instead with traditional machines purchased from Siemens AG and other companies.
Carreyrou’s reporting became the basis for his bestselling book, “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup,” which led to “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” a 2019 HBO documentary film.
And for those looking for even more drama centered around the Theranos saga, a feature film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Elizabeth Holmes, titled, “Bad Blood,” remains “in development” according to People magazine. Though the project was announced in 2016, filming has yet to begin.
Meanwhile, clinical laboratory scientists will soon get to watch the next “real world” chapter in the Holmes’ saga play out in federal court later this summer. They will also have multiple opportunities in the coming years to be “entertained” by the Theranos scandal on big and small screens.
—Andrea Downing Peck