In a very competitive bidding situation, Fox 21 Television Studios has optioned the book The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower about the relationship between the White House residence staff and the various First Families spanning several administrations.
The non-fiction book will be developed as a cable drama executive produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti of Trigger Street. In her first foray into scripted TV producing, Fox News Anchor Megyn Kelly is attached as a co-executive producer. Andersen Brower, who covered President Obama’s first term for Bloomberg News and also worked as a CBS News staffer and Fox News producer, is attached as a technical consultant.
In the vein of hit British drama Downton Abbey, The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, which is expected to debut at No.1 on the New York Times bestseller list this Sunday after selling out on Amazon, recounts some intimate upstairs/downstairs details from the staff in The White House through several administrations. That includes the Kennedys’ chic fashion-forward parties, Lyndon Johnson’s bizzare obsession with increasing shower pressure in the bathroom, Nancy Reagan keeping the pastry chef up all night to create a perfect dessert, George W. Bush playing horseshoes out back with the help, Hilary Clinton throwing a book at Bill in their bedroom during the Monica Lewinsky controversy, and the Obamas dancing to Mary J. Blige on their first night in the White House.
“This isn’t your typical portraiture of America’s first family, in fact it’s quite the opposite,” Brunetti said. “This is a compelling narrative about the men and women who make the White House run every day. There are so many interesting and wonderful stories to tell that are grounded and relatable, I think this will translate into a truly wonderful show.”
Spacey and Brunetti know a thing or two about cable dramas set in the White House as executive producers of hit Netflix series House of Cards, in which Spacey plays the U.S. president. The two quickly identified Residence and pitched the book to Fox 21 TV Studios president Bert Salke. “It was mind blowing and there were multiple bidders for the project,” Salke said. “The pages were absolutely compelling — there was an incredible scope that took you behind the scenes of history with the ordinary and extraordinary people who make it.”
A search for a writer for the project is underway, and it is expected to be shopped to cable networks shortly.
Trigger Street’s credits also include features Captain Phillips and The Social Network, HBO movie Recount and the Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh. The company is repped by CAA. The book deal was brokered by Howard Yoon of Ross Yoon Agency along with Hotchkiss and Associates.