Apple is continuing to flesh out its lineup of TV series for its upcoming streaming service and Netflix competitor, assumed to be offered sometime next year as part of a subscription bundle with Apple Music. The company’s latest addition is a dramatic mystery series, currently known as the untitled Hilde Lysiak project. The show is inspired by the real-life story of the 11-year-old investigative reporter who scooped local news outlets by being the first to expose a murder in her hometown of Selinsgrove, PA.
Lysiak may not be a household name, but her story is impressive.
The Columbia Journalism Review profiled her online news operation, Orange Street News, in a story titled, “Is this 8-year-old’s newspaper better than yours?”
The young reporter is not a hobbyist at her chosen profession — she attends town meetings, she covers neighborhood crime without police cooperation, and she shows up on the scene of breaking news, the article explains.
She also beat the local daily paper in being the first to cover a murder in the area when she was only 9 years old. When criticized by Facebook commenters (aren’t they lovely) for being a kid covering graphic news like this before all the facts were in, she fought back.
“I just like letting people know all the information,” the reporter said.
“Because of my work, I was able to inform the people that there’s a terrible murder hours before my competition even got to the scene. In fact, some of these adult-read newspapers were reporting the wrong news or no news at all,” she explained in a YouTube video.
As to how she got the scoop, Lysiak said, “I got a good tip from a source and I was able to confirm it.”
Her site today continues to feature a number of crime reports, included break-ins, drugs, abuse, assaults and more, alongside stories of local interest, like the gas smell that shut down Orange Street, for example.
Clearly, Lysiak’s work is great fodder for a feel-good show about smart and ambitious kids, but it’s also one of increased importance in an era where journalism itself is under attack.
Apple has given a straight-to-series order to the untitled Hilde Lysiak project, which will have 10 episodes in its debut season.
The series is produced by Anonymous Content and Paramount Television, is created and executive produced by Dana Fox (How To Be Single and Ben and Kate) and Dara Resnik (Daredevil), along with executive producers Joy Gorman Wettels (13 Reasons Why) and Sharlene Martin (Smallville). Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Now You See Me 2) will direct and executive produce.
The show will begin by following a young girl who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside down her father had left behind. The protagonist will then work to unveil the truth regarding a cold case that everyone in town, father included, has tried to bury.
Hence the “inspired by” label — in real life, Lysiak’s father didn’t try to bury the truth.
In fact, he inspired her pursuit of chasing stories by taking her with him to the newsroom of the New York Daily News, where he had worked as a journalist himself.
The show will join a varied lineup at Apple, which now includes a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, a Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Anniston-starring series set in the world of morning TV, an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a documentary about extraordinary homes, a series from “La La Land’s” director and a series about Emily Dickinson, among others.