EXCLUSIVE: In one of FremantleMedia‘s highest-profile scripted projects to date, the American Idol and X Factor producer has teamed with veteran feature and TV writer/producer Marshall Herskovitz for a drama series project inspired by the book Hitlerland by Andrew Nagorski published earlier this year. Herskovitz will write the adaptation and executive produce with producer/manager Alan Gasmer (Vikings).
The series is set in 1920s and ’30s Berlin, an electrifying, chaotic city at the forefront of literature, art and science. The book’s accounts of American diplomats and correspondents who witnessed Hitler and the Nazis’ rise to power will be woven into a fictional tapestry of political intrigue, pursuit of power, and personal danger — set against the backdrop of the most sexually and artistically liberated city in the world. “Berlin during the 1920s and ’30s was so alive, so filled with promise, so incredibly modern — even today, much of what we think of as new or avant-garde was created then,” Herskovitz said. “And it’s equally important — in light of the dark forces in our world today — to understand how a group like the Nazis ever came to power.”
At FremantleMedia, the project is spearheaded by Jeff Tahler, SVP Acquisitions and Development, Global Content, FremantleMedia Enterprises, and Tony Optican, SVP Scripted Programming, FremantleMedia North America as part of the company’s strategy to develop and distribute dramas for worldwide audiences. “Marshall’s vast experience in creating television and feature hits, combined with the elaborate social and political landscape surrounding the story of how one of the world’s most feared regimes eventually came to power, will provide him with a completely new battlefield to explore.”
Along with writing partner and frequent collaborator Ed Zwick, Emmy winner Herskovitz co-created series thirtysomething and Once & Again. His film credits with Zwick include Love And Other Drugs and The Last Samurai. Known as a reality powerhouse, FremantleMedia has been making a push in the scripted arena, which has yielded two series: Wedding Band for TBS, with Mike Tollin producing, and Hit & Miss for Sky Atlantic, from Shameless creator Paul Abbot.