Robert King and Michelle King have emerged as some of the most prolific creators currently working in TV. The duo, who are behind two series, CBS’ The Good Wife and the upcoming BrainDead, have sold a provocative new drama project, Vatican City, to Amazon. Like The Good Wife and BrianDead, Vatican City hails from CBS TV Studios, where the Kings’ are based, and Scott Free Prods., which has a first-look there.
Vatican City tells the story of an American, female, on-screen reporter working at a financial news network in Rome. There she comes to the attention of the liberal pope, Clement, who, knowing he can’t buck tradition and make women priests, decides to shake up the curia by making her the papal spokesperson. Once there, she’s forced to navigate 2000 years of sexism and a boss who 1.2 billion people consider infallible.
The project is fictional — like virtually all positions of power in the Catholic church, the Vatican spokesperson role has been held by men. In fact, women made just 18% of the Vatican staff in 2014. While the ban against women’s ordination is unlikely to be lifted any time soon, Pope Francis has acknowledged that women need to play a more incisive role in the church. The number of women employed at the Vatican has been rising. In 2014 the pontiff appointed Mary Ann Glendon to the supervisory board of the Vatican bank, and Sr. Mary Melone was named rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum, the first woman rector of a pontifical university in Rome.
Robert and Michelle King will write the script for Vatican City, which they will executive produce through their King Size Prods., alongside the company’s president Liz Glotzer. Scott Free’s Ridley Scott and David Zucker also executive produce.
For Scott Free, this marks a return to a setting the company explored with the 2013 Showtime drama pilot The Vatican, a provocative contemporary genre thriller set against the machinations within the Catholic church. The company boarded that project, starring Kyle Chandler, when Ridley Scott was tapped to direct it.
Robert and Michelle King yesterday received a WGA Award nomination in the episodic drama category, which they won last year for penning “The Last Call” episode of The Good Wife. This time, they are nominated for writing last season’s “Mind’s Eye” episode of the CBS legal drama.
The Kings are repped by Paradigm and attorney Jon Moonves.