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Visitor column – The Hollywood Reporter

It began with a pitch I obtained on the finish of 2013 about Theranos. As an ABC Information correspondent, I labored with Diane Sawyer on a sequence about exploding medical prices and we seemed for options for our viewers. Theranos was launched to me as an organization that was creating one thing that would save our viewers cash on blood assessments: a full set of assessments carried out on a single drop of blood. After I began wanting into it, there was nobody impartial who may actually affirm what I used to be being advised. It did not seem to be a large purple flag at this level, however it was at the back of my thoughts.

Immediately I began seeing Elizabeth Holmes blow up on journal covers, and that actually piqued my curiosity. I pitched the story internally to ABC Information as a result of I assumed a story podcast could be an excellent place to begin for this story. At the moment, there have been no expenses from the SEC, there have been no expenses from the DOJ. We did not know the place the story was going. Nevertheless it felt like there have been many rifts between what Holmes stated and offered, and what the scientific neighborhood may independently validate. Nobody exterior of Theranos had even seen the expertise.

It wasn’t till I met Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung, who gave her first interview after submitting her claims with regulators, that I realized about what was occurring inside Theranos. It was an attention-grabbing dialog. I used to be pregnant for a lot of the manufacturing course of and my physician allowed me to journey to the West Coast as soon as throughout that being pregnant. It turned this very monumental second in my life – my producers, Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson, and I knew these tapes have been recorded that nobody had heard or seen. We have been capable of decide up these tapes, however we needed to do it in particular person as a result of there have been so many redacted items. This second was unbelievable as a result of we have been the very first folks to share it with the general public.

The podcast got here out in January 2019 – I bear in mind this as a result of I gave start to my first little one in February. Simply as I used to be ending the final episode of the podcast, I used to be delivering my daughter.

I had no expectations of how folks would react to the podcast as soon as it was out – I simply felt the story of the alleged deceptions of Theranos and Holmes needs to be advised. After the primary few episodes have been launched, TV producers began emailing me unsolicited, asking, “What are you doing with the IP?” And it turned out that there was curiosity inside Disney – Searchlight and Hulu needed to inform the story as a restricted sequence. Being 9 months pregnant, racing to place the ending touches on the ultimate episodes — after I assume again to that interval in my life, it was a whole whirlwind. Now that it is turn into a restricted sequence, I’ve liked how the management inside Disney, Hulu, Searchlight, creator and showrunner Liz Meriwether, star Amanda Seyfried, all the solid and crew, all of the folks at ABC Information who’ve been dedicated to this – everybody needed to be on board. There have been so many occasions it may have fallen aside.

It began when Liz got here up with a variety of questions. That is one thing I revered about her from the beginning: she did not step into this undertaking assuming she knew all of the solutions; she actually approached it like a journalist in some ways, asking extra questions, taking a look at totally different scenes and vignettes from the podcast, and asking, “What else? Is there extra on this?” I’ve all the time very a lot revered that high quality. To start with there have been many questions, and pre-COVID we sat down personally.

However due to COVID it obtained fairly wild. Holmes’ court docket date was pushed again a number of occasions, after which her being pregnant pushed it once more – her trial happened in August 2021. The Hulu sequence was additionally postponed just a few occasions, and Amanda, Liz and the manufacturing crew have been busy from taking pictures on the identical time this lawsuit was underway. We got here throughout a variety of new info throughout that point, resembling textual content messages between Holmes and her romantic and enterprise associate, Sunny Balwani, the previous president and COO of Theranos. The Hulu sequence was written on the time, however manufacturing was nonetheless ongoing. Liz and I went forwards and backwards all through the trial, sharing new info.

Most of what was written was based mostly on the reporting we had on the time, and it did not should be rewritten. However there have been new layers. We by no means knew that Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani known as one another “Tiger” and “Tigress” very privately, which was revealed of their textual content messages. I believe after you’re employed on a undertaking like this you concentrate on your individual textual content messages and what they’d inform folks about your relationships and who you might be since you simply get a deeper dive by taking a look at that type of materials.

The casting was completely flawless and I had nothing to do with it. However I would not change it – it is a dream come true, the entire thing. I have been in common contact with Stanford professor Phyllis Gardner, who was performed by Laurie Metcalf within the sequence; she’s stated to me, “My mannerisms, even a few of my facial expressions — she will get it.” Pursuing the reality is the number one driver of my work, which is why I do what I do. And to transform that materials into a special medium, you need to make it possible for no matter the brand new product is does justice to the underlying actuality. I believe Liz took that as severely as I did. She may be very element oriented.

Many individuals have stated, “It is one factor to listen to this story, however to see it’s one other.” That is a layer the Hulu sequence has added – folks have been wanting to see extra. I bear in mind my first time strolling on set. I approached Amanda from behind, and but the essence of Elizabeth Holmes was there. Folks speak concerning the voice, however it’s additionally the mannerisms. That is how she walks. That is how she behaves. It is the ability she has when she stands in entrance of a gaggle of individuals and the way that group of individuals reacts. All these issues I noticed alongside the way in which with my reporting. Strolling into this room on set, I used to be blown away to ascertain all that in Amanda’s efficiency.

This isn’t only a story about a captivating particular person. It is a story a couple of expertise that would have influenced all folks. Elizabeth Holmes was onstage speaking about bringing Theranos into all of the Walgreens shops. So many People dwell inside driving distance of a Walgreens, so you might think about a world the place everybody could be uncovered to that expertise. And so many very sensible folks have been all improper – perhaps they did not misunderstand, however they have been cheated, based mostly on the result of her trial. I used to be all the time fascinated by that facet of it. How may this occur? Why did this occur? That is about an individual, however additionally it is about an ecosystem that made this deception attainable.

I am simply extremely pleased with what everybody has put into this. I am so excited it is getting this sort of recognition, and I am so grateful to the viewers of people that listened to the podcast and despatched us their appreciation notes. This could be a lonely course of while you’re reporting and placing every part collectively. I’m very excited for the crew and I’m so comfortable for everybody who has been nominated. That is truthfully the icing on the cake for me.

This story first appeared in a standalone August problem of The Hollywood Reporter journal.

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