Always eager to capitalize on a hot viral trend, Fox has begun work on a limited series about ebola, with producers Ridley Scott and Lynda Obst developing an adaptation of Richard Preston’s 1994 best-selling argument for wrapping your house in plastic and routinely flaying your skin, The Hot Zone. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott—who’s on board to direct at least the first episode—“quietly has been working” on the project with Obst for the past year, first optioning the nonfiction book some two decades ago, then engineering the deadly outbreak in West Africa that recently began spreading to the United States, all as part of their insidious “viral promotion.” It’s all here in this pamphlet.
With fears of ebola now at an all-time high of ill-informed yelling, the time is now ripe for updating and fostering that panic. Preston is writing a new article for next week’s New Yorker on the current American ebola scare that has suddenly made it interesting to Americans, and Scott and Obst plan to incorporate that report into their series tracing the global history of the disease. “People hoped it would stay in some remote part of the world. But that’s a fantasy in the modern world. The modern world makes us one big connected family,” Obst said of this, the concept behind Fox’s most revolting family show since Dads.
The Hot Zone was originally conceived as a film that would have starred Jodie Foster, though those plans were eventually scrapped after 1995’s similarly themed Outbreak made ebola-like viruses not so trendy. But as with all things ’90s nostalgia, ebola is once again on everyone’s minds—and as their TV continues to convince them, their airplane seats, public toilets, and hands.