EXCLUSIVE: “We’re on the hunt for a drama series next,” Spike TV EVP Original Series Sharon Levy told Deadline a month ago when the network made its return to scripted programming with a green light to event series Tut. The network has added another hopeful to its drama development slate, suspense thriller The Chairman, executive produced by actor Julian McMahon, Electus‘ Ben Silverman and former AMC executive-turned-producer Jeremy Elice. I hear the project is being eyed as a potential starring vehicle for Nip/Tuck alum McMahon.
Based on the Stephen Frey novel and to be adapted by Mergers & Acquisitions author and Vanity Fair contributor Dana Vachon, Chairman tells the story of Christian Gillette, a charismatic Gulf War veteran who takes over a billion-dollar private equity fund after its founder’s mysterious death. As his new powers open secret doors he realizes that the world of apparently gentrified Manhattan finance is closely tied to the brutal realm of war that still haunts him — and that some of its most dangerous players are now his inherited enemies.
Frey, who himself is a managing director at a private equity firm, has set most of his novels in the financial world, including the Gillette series of four books, launched by The Chairman. Silverman, McMahon, Elice and Vachon executive produce with David Schiff and ROAR’s Greg Suess, while Electus’ Sean Canino serves as co-exec producer. “When Julian McMahon and Greg Suess brought us this great book series, we knew it could be the basis of a stylized, smart, aggressive, character-driven story in the financial world unlike anything that has previously been on television,” Silverman said.
Frey has published 20 novels since 1995 with Penguin, Putnam, Random House, Simon & Schuster and Amazon Publishing. His latest work, Red Cell 7, the sequel to Arctic Fire, came out in January and his next one, Kodiak Sky, will be published in November 2014 by Amazon Publishing. He is repped by the Cynthia Manson Literary Agency and APA. McMahon is repped by Paradigm and The Schiff Co.
In addition to Tut, set to premiere in 2015 as Spike TV’s first scripted event series in seven years, the network recently announced script options for War At the Shore, based on Richard D. “Skip” Bronson’s book, and Basket Case by author and journalist Carl Hiaasen.