National Geographic Channel said this morning it’s getting back in bed with Scott Free Productions to produce an adaptation of Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s book Killing Patton. This iteration of their lucrative “Killing” franchise, focusing on the death of the World War II general, will be adapted by screenwriter Anthony Peckham (Sherlock, Invictus). The four-hour scripted project will, as had the book, explore the final year of the war and “recount the events surrounding Patton’s suspicious demise, which may have been an assassination by any number of powerful individuals who wanted him silenced,” NatGeo said in today’s news. It will air globally on National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages.
Killing Patton will begin production in 2016, following the recently announced collaboration between National Geographic Channel and Scott Free Productions on Killing Reagan, which the network has said will air globally in 2016. Previous installments in the franchise, Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus, were the network’s three most-watched programs domestically; the latter two were Emmy-nominated in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Though Killing Patton was published before Killing Reagan, in September of 2014, NatGeo had not yet announced a deal to adapt this particular volume; in fall of ’14 O’Reilly was saying he had a movie adaption in mind for Killing Patton, which focuses on the final months of the war. George C. Scott won an Academy Award for playing the title role in 1970’s Patton. Today, however, O’Reilly said in the announcement, “Scott Free Productions and National Geographic Channels have done a brilliant job bringing to life the towering historical figures in my Killing series, and I’m very confident our continued partnership will yield a gripping film about General Patton’s tragic death.”
Tim Pastore, President of Original Programming and Production, National Geographic Channel, said the network is “thrilled to have screenwriter Anthony Peckham come on board to help bring this project to life, especially given his past successes in delivering iconic characters to the big screen that have garnered critical acclaim and resonated with audiences around the globe.”
Executive producers for the project: Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio and Bill O’Reilly. Co-execute producer is Clayton Krueger. For National Geographic Channels, President of Original Programming and Production is Pastore.