Showtime is developing a drama series about New York City’s gay and transgender community—specifically the underground Ball scene that stages various drag competitions, and lives together in various “drag houses” that provide support for disenfranchised gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual youths, many of them hailing from oppressive, working-class minority origins. It’s an uplifting story about how family is wherever you find it, and the importance of being true to yourself—or rather, it probably would be, except for the fact that it’s being directed by world’s loudest tiny violin Lee Daniels.

The Precious filmmaker already has one small-screen story of campy calamity in the works with his adaptation of Valley Of The Dolls, and here he’ll team up with another person well-versed in personal obstacles and misery, Temple Grandin and In Treatment writer W. Merritt Johnson, which suggests the as-yet-untitled series will mostly tread on the dark, melodramatic side. Still, there’s gotta be some fun in there, right? This is the same subculture that gave Madonna her “Vogue” dance moves, after all—and more obviously, it served as the subject for Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning, with the parallels between her film and Daniels’ prospective series so strong here, she should probably get an honorary producer credit.

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