Starz has put in development Fleet Street, a drama project executive produced by British journalist and CNN anchor Piers Morgan, which is set in 1970’s England and chronicles the rise of tabloid journalism, the sexual revolution and class warfare, all seen through the eyes of an American journalist.
The drama will be produced by Lionsgate in association with Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced, Octagon Entertainment and Piers Morgan’s Ferret Prods. and executive produced by Morgan, Octagon’s Managing Director John Ferriter, who reps Morgan, and Jason Felts, Justin Berfield and Michael Forman of Virgin Produced. BAFTA Award- winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless UK) will write the pilot episode and also serve as executive producer. “Imagine an industry where every single opponent worked in the same street, competing with each other by day – drinking, brawling, fornicating, nightclubbing and cocaine-snorting with each other by night,” said Morgan, who has intimate knowledge of the British tabloid industry, having worked for The Sun and served as editor of News Of The World and Daily Mirror in the 1990s and early 2000s. “A street full of the most ruthless and amoral people in the world existed, and it was called Fleet Street. In the early ’70s, it became the breeding ground for modern popular journalism, as foreign media tycoons stomped over the British establishment to re-define ‘news,’suddenly exposing the rich, powerful and famous in spectacular front-page scoops. It was the dawn of the celebrity era, in all its gruesome detail – a revolution that changed pop culture, and the relationship between the press and politicians, royals, and stars. Fleet Street in the ’70s was a hotbed of scoops, shagging, flairs and devastating world that was also unbelievably exciting.”
The project reunites Starz with Lionsgate, which produced recently cancelled drama Boss. “STARZ is looking forward to working with Lionsgate again on a project we have a tremendous amount of faith in,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “Fleet Street in the 70’s was the Madison Avenue of the media world.” Morgan’s tenure at the Daily Mirror was mired in controversy, not only because of his public firing over publishing fake photos but also because of the paper’s alleged involvement in the phone hacking scandal.