Renee Zellweger will make her broadcast television debut in a true-crime series on NBC based on a wild saga initially chronicled on one of the most popular "Dateline NBC" storylines of recent years.
The two-time Oscar winner will star in "The Thing About Pam," a six-episode series based on the 2011 murder of Missouri woman Betsy Faria. Her husband, Russ Faria, spent four years behind bars for her murder before being acquitted in 2015, and his wife's death remains unsolved.
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Zellweger, 51, will play Pam Hupp, 62, who is serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger. Authorities believe Hupp killed Gumpenberger to frame Russ Faria for the murder of his wife. Hupp testified against Faria in the initial trial where he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison after his wife was found stabbed 55 times in their Missouri home.
The lurid case was featured in five "Dateline" episodes from 2014 to 2019 and was the subject of a popular 2019 podcast also named "The Thing About Pam."
"This story has resonated with audiences every time we’ve covered it," Liz Cole, president of NBC News Studios and executive producer of "Dateline NBC," said in a news release. "We’re thrilled to share it in a new way by collaborating with Renee and our incredible partners at Blumhouse and NBC."
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said: "As NBC News Studios continues to build upon an impressive track record only a year into our launch, we could not be more proud to work with this extraordinary team of collaborators on our first foray into scripted."
Zellweger will also be the executive producer of the show, which is a collaboration between her Big Picture Co., NBC News Studios and Blumhouse Television.
"When you think about what qualifies something as a ‘must watch,’ I’m not sure you could do any better than the undeniable trifecta of Renee Zellweger, Blumhouse and ‘Dateline,’” Susan Rovner, chairman of entertainment content for NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming division, said in the news release.
"The twists and turns of this saga are truly stranger than fiction, and in the hands of this incredibly talented artistic team, this series will bring a completely new perspective to a story that has already captivated millions."
Jason Blum, CEO and founder of Blumhouse, likened the new series to previous ones such as "The Jinx" and "Sharp Objects," saying that it is another "opportunity to fuel viewers' appetites for strong and compelling stories."
The showrunner and writer of the new series will be Jessika Borsiczky, who was the executive producer on the Showtime series "House of Lies" and the Hulu series "UnREAL."
"As someone who hasn’t missed an episode of ‘Dateline’ in 10 years, what immediately stood out to me about Pam from other true-crime stories is that while on its surface it has all the twists and turns of a thrilling whodunit murder mystery, it’s really a character story at its heart that reflects in a profound way the American landscape back to us,” Borsiczky said in a news release.
Zellweger has appeared in 40 movies, but this is her first starring role in a broadcast television series. Her first acting role was in a made-for-television movie called "A Taste for Killing" that aired on USA Network in 1992.
The star of "Bridget Jones's Diary" most recently won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2020 for her role as Judy Garland in the biopic "Judy."