Fox has added two more projects to its event series development slate: The Run Of His Life: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson (working title), from Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games franchise) and Brad Simpson (World War Z) and based on legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin’s best-selling book of the same name about the Simpson trial, and Shōgun, from producers Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) based on the best-selling novel by James Clavell. Both hail from FX Prods. The network plans to launch its first limited/event series next year. “These are both epic stories — one fiction, one fact — that have captivated millions of people worldwide,” said Fox’s Shana C. Waterman, SVP Event Series & Multi-Platform Programming. “They’re riveting and emotional, with unique historic backdrops that lend themselves to the high-quality, dramatic event series we’re looking to make.”
Written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flint), The Run Of His Life takes viewers behind the scenes of The Trial of the Century, which culminated with Simpson’s shocking acquittal of the murders of wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. This is not Fox’s first crack at Simpson: In 2006, network was set to air during the November sweep an interview with Simpson based on his proposed book If I Did It, which was going to be published by ReganBooks, an imprint owned by Fox owner News Corp. The book would have offered up Simpson’s hypothetical take on how he would have murdered Simpson and Goldman. Both it and the interview were eventually scrapped amid swift public outcry.
The Shogun adaptation has some big shoes to fill. NBC’s 1980 12-hour limited series starring Richard Chamberlain still ranks as one of the most-watched TV events in history, along with garnering critical praise. Set in the 17th century, the story is told from the perspective of British hero John Blackthorne, a sailor who rises from outsider to samurai while being used as a pawn in Japanese leader Toranaga’s struggle to reach the top of the ruling chain, or Shōgun.
Shōgun and The Run Of His Life join two previously announced limited series in development — Wayward Pines, from M. Night Shyamalan, and Blood Brothers, from Bruce C. McKenna, Gary Randall and Timothy Scott Bogart.