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Based On A True Story - Everything You Need To Know

There might be no hotter trend in entertainment right now than true crime storytelling. From books to podcasts to documentaries to scripted films and TV shows, the United States has seemingly rediscovered a collective national passion for learning the sordid details of grisly, ghastly, and shocking stories of murder and deceit ripped straight from real life in the last few years. On television, that trend has been demonstrated by the wide array of hit true crime shows that have made their way to both traditional TV networks and streaming services as of late, from "Tiger King" to "The Act" to "The Vow" to "Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" to any given season of "American Crime Story" — the list goes on and on, really.

Many have been the critics and cultural commentators who have been poring over that resurgence of the true crime genre and what it says about the current state of American culture, the nation's fixations and obsessions, and the shared anxieties of its populace. Now, a new true crime show from Aggregate Films and UCP is coming to Peacock with the promise to turn a mirror on America and its relationship with the genre. Here's everything we know so far about "Based on a True Story," which is set to be written and executive produced by Craig Rosenberg.

When will Based on a True Story be released?

"Based on a True Story" was first announced on April 11, 2022, per Variety. At the time, it was reported that the comedic thriller show from executive producers Craig Rosenberg, Jason Bateman, and Michael Costigan had been given a straight-to-series order by Peacock, meaning an entire season would go into production at once. Straight-to-series orders are common in the streaming production pipeline, since shows are generally intended to be presented as entire units, whether released weekly or all at once; there have been examples of Peacock shows following both release models.

More than a year passed — with the entire first season planned, produced, filmed, edited, and readied for promotion — before NBCUniversal announced a premiere date for the project. At its presentation to advertisers in May 2023, the entertainment company announced (via Deadline) that "Based on a True Story" would debut on its Peacock on June 8, 2023. The complete eight-episode order will hit the streaming service all at once. 

What is the plot of Based on a True Story?

On May 2, 2023, Peacock divulged some plot details to Deadline indicating what to expect from "Based on a True Story." It's a satirical take on true crime about a trio of opportunists from different walks of life who team up to cynically exploit the true crime phenomenon. And the series is apparently true to its name, reportedly actually based on a real event. "There are some true stories that are stranger than fiction as is the case for the events that inspire this show," Beatrice Springborn, president of production studio UCP, told Variety. "It is a twisted, thrilling and incredibly funny series. According to the official logline, "Based on a True Story" will follow "a realtor, a plumber, and a former tennis star whose lives unexpectedly collide, exposing America's obsession with true crime, murder, and the slow close toilet seat."

According to the series' trailer, "Based on a True Story" is about a pregnant woman desperate for money who figures out a way to turn her true crime obsession into some quick cash. She starts a true crime podcast and blackmails a wanted serial killer into appearing on her show.

Who is starring in Based on a True Story?

Variety reported in August 2022 that Kaley Cuoco would headlined "Based on a True Story." Best known for her 12-year stint on "The Big Bang Theory," Cuoco is on a hot streak of late, receiving two straight Emmy Award nominations for her HBO Max dramedy "The Flight Attendant." Cuoco will play real estate agent Ava Bartlett while Chris Messina ("The Mindy Project," "The Sinner"), per Deadline, portrays Nathan, Ava's husband and a former professional tennis player. Rounding out the main cast, according to Deadline, is Tom Bateman ("Da Vinci's Demons") as a plumber involved in Ava and Nathan's scheme.

Then there's the show's supporting cast, full of up-and-coming names. Liana Liberato ("Light as a Feather"), and Priscilla Quintana ("Pandora") will feature prominently, as will "Stranger Things" star Natalia Dyer, "Industry" Season 2 breakout Alex Alomar Akpobome, and Li Jun Li, most recently seen in "Babylon. Annabelle Dexter-Jones and rising Canadian comedy star Aisha Alfa will also appear.

Who is producing, directing, and showrunning Based on a True Story?

"Based on a True Story" will arrive on Peacock in June 2023 with a veritable pedigree of producers, creators, writers, and directors calling the shots. Leading the way, according to Deadline, is executive producer and creator Craig Rosenberg, a screenwriter turned TV writer responsible for multiple episodes of the acclaimed and quirky action series "Preacher" and "The Boys." The project is a high-profile endeavor from Universal division UCP and the production company Aggregate Films, a joint venture from "Prometheus" and "Ghost in the Shell" producer Michael Costigan and Emmy-winning actor-director Jason Bateman ("Ozark," "Arrested Development").

Other members of the "Based on a True Story" behind-the-scenes staff include executive producer Alexander Buono. Best known as a director of comedy series like "Documentary Now!"" and "Russian Doll," he'll helm some episodes of this show, too, as will Emmy-nominated documentarian Jennifer Arnold.

Is there a trailer for Based on a True Story?

Just after announcing the basic plot and main cast of "Based on a True Story," Peacock dropped a trailer for the true crime-skewering dark comedy that delivered a more detailed account of what the show was all about, and what audiences might expect from the upcoming series. 

The shenanigans begin with Ava, very pregnant and very obsessed with the whole true crime genre, who finds it "so exciting" that there's an active serial killer in the neighborhood where she lives with her husband, distracted and unnerved by having lost his job and unsure how he's going to provide for his growing family. Ava takes matters into her own hands by pursuing something she loves, and which dominates her whole life, particularly after she witnesses the "West Side Ripper" commit a grisly murder. She starts a podcast and makes true crime into a revenue stream, hatching the idea to force the murderer-at-large to come on the show and discuss his acts. If not, she'll go to the police with incriminating information. But as Ava realizes (and then experiences), that could all veer wildly out of control and land her behind bars or dead.