EXCLUSIVE: Tomorrow Studios, Marty Adelstein’s co-venture with ITV Studios, has acquired the pilot and second episode scripts of Trump: It Happened Here — the ripped-from-the-headlines dramatization of Trump’s rise to the White House from political reporter Scott Conroy and Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment. Tomorrow Studios is eying the project as a potential ongoing series, which is expected to be pitched to broadcast, cable and streaming networks shortly. Adelstein is shepherding the hourlong project, which is light in tone, with Tomorrow Studios’ Becky Clements.
Word of this deal comes after news last week that the team behind HBO’s Game Change is also readying a mini-series on Trump’s improbable victory over Hillary Clinton with director Jay Roach, who will also executive producing with Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.
Game Change was about the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain — which, like Trump, featured an outsider and media star in VP candidate Sarah Palin. Conroy, the writer of Trump: It Happened Here just so happens to have worked as an embedded reporter for both the Palin and Mitt Romney campaigns and juicy tidbits from both campaigns is finely woven into the script.
The script, which Conroy based on fact-based research and on-the-ground experience, including conversations with Trump, began making the rounds through Hollywood not even a month ago and quickly became the hot read. From the opening pages where reality-TV producer Mark Burnett pitches The Apprentice as “Survivor meets Friends” to then-NBC entertainment chief Jeff Zucker, the story winds into the behind-the-scenes machinations following Trump rise to power — with a Zucker-hungry-for-ratings executive all the while making sure that Trump is endlessly covered on CNN. Hope Hicks, who started as an agency publicist working on Ivanka Trump’s fashion line in 2012 before becoming White House Director of Strategic Communications, is also in the script as she morphs from this almost naive worker bee to a savvy strategist by script’s end.
Also included in the first two episodes is a scene depicting President Obama’s now notorious take-down of Trump during the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner – a humiliation some think triggered the Donald’s run for the White House.
We hear the hope is to enroll people who had worked for both campaigns as consultants on the project.
Tomorrow Studios is producing TNT’s drama pilots Snowpiercer and Let the Right One In, and is also the production company behind TNT’s series Good Behavior, renewed for a second season, and NBC’s Aquarius, which aired for two seasons. Additionally, Adelstein and Clements executive produce long-running ABC comedy series Last Man Standing, and Adlestein also exec produces Teen Wolf and Prison Break.