Showtime’s Joan Rivers biographical limited series The Comeback Girl starring Kathryn Hahn will not move forward, according to Variety. The series, which was announced last month, was apparently unable to acquire Rivers’ life rights, which are currently owned by daughter Melissa.
Without the rights, the series would not have been able to use the television personality’s famous jokes or catchphrases. While the series could have gone on as an unauthorized project, potential conflict between Melissa Rivers and her estate would likely ensue.
Hot off her Emmy nomination for her role as the villainous witch Agatha Harkness in WandaVision, Hahn was set to star and executive produce the series with Warner Bros. Television. The show would have followed Rivers during her time as the host of Fox’s late-night talk show The Late Show, around the time of her late husband Edgar Rosenberg’s death by suicide.
“Trailblazer. Adored. Cruel. Diva. Joan Rivers had a life like no other. At age 54, she was a superstar comedienne…and then it all fell apart,” stated the show’s logline. “The Comeback Girl is the awe-inspiring untold story of how Joan Rivers persevered through near suicide and professional abyss to rebuild herself and her career to become a global icon.”
Hahn’s casting was met with controversy, bringing up a conversation of whether a non-Jewish actor should play a Jewish comedy icon, with Sarah Silverman calling the situation a case of “Jewface” on her podcast.
Atlas Entertainment and Berlanti Productions were also set to produce, with executive producer Greg Berlanti set to direct the script written by Cosmo Carlson. Whether or not Melissa Rivers has future plans to use her mother’s rights to tell biographical works is unclear.