October 10, 2022
Hulu has greenlighted Lionsgate Television’s limited series “Death at Penn State,” which explores college fraternity life and the story of Tim Piazza, a 2017 Penn State freshman who died during a Beta Theta Pi hazing incident. The death led to the shuttering of the fraternity, and at least 26 members of the fraternity facing criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter.
The incident reportedly led to the largest criminal indictment against a fraternity and its members in American history.
The series, which is based on an article from The Atlantic by Caitlin Flanagan, is being produced by Robert Greenblatt, a longtime television executive and former chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer, overseeing HBO, Turner and the launch of HBO Max.
“While hazing is illegal, there continue to be similar incidents around the country each year, and we want this [series] to be a cautionary tale,” Greenblatt said in a statement. Tim’s bereaved parents, Jim and Evelyn, are now crusaders for reform, and last year the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law was passed. We all hope this will be drama with a purpose.”
In a statement, Piazza’s parents said they are appreciative for Lionsgate and Hulu taking on the project related to their son’s tragic and very preventable death.
“Given the reckless and deplorable behavior of fraternity members and their advisors, the lack of oversight by the University and the National Fraternity and the ongoing criminal and civil proceedings that continue five plus years later, we feel this is a story that must be told to prevent similar incidents from happening to another young man (or woman) and their family,” they said.
On Aug. 24, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the “Timothy J. Piazza Law,” requiring public and non-public middle schools and high schools, as well as higher education institutions, to adopt anti-hazing policies and penalties for violations of the policies.