EXCLUSIVE: HBO appears obsessed by GOP Conservatives. There have been movies about the 2000 Bush vs Gore election standoff and Sarah Palin and most recently a TV series featuring George W Bush’s severed head. Now HBO has done a secret deal for an Untitled Roger Ailes Project. It’s based on the upcoming manuscript by media writer Gabriel Sherman who has written two cover stories for New York magazine on Ailes and Fox News, including his mammoth article “The Elephant In The Green Room” which came out a little more than a year ago and prompted complaints from the Fox News CEO. Last year, Sherman signed a book contract with Random House tentatively titled “The Loudest Voice in the Room: An Inside Account of the Rise of Fox News”. I’ve also learned that executive producing this latest HBO project are two of Ailes’ competitors: Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the co-hosts of MSNBC‘s Morning Joe. NYC-based Hotchkiss and Associates made the HBO deal for the film rights to Sherman’s book on behalf of the Ross Yoon Agency. Scarborough’s and Brzezinski’s producing deal was negotiated by WME Entertainment, the Hollywood agency run by Ari Emanuel who is a Democratic activist (and the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff).
None of this has been announced yet because sources tell me Sherman is still researching the book and plans to finish writing it by the end of the summer for a 2013 publishing date. “Nothing much to say. No book yet to read. No script. We’ll wait to see what the script looks like and then decide whether to develop further,” a cagey HBO exec explained to me. It’s commonplace for Time Warner’s premier pay TV channel to sign up books before they’re published and then turn them into TV movies. In this TV movie, a source tells me, “HBO prefers to take on Fox News through Ailes. The idea is that it should make Fox News look like a Mafia, and you get into this through Ailes, sidestepping Murdoch, not approaching the story head on.”
While Sherman works on his book, the New York Daily News recently reported that Ailes was helping conservative writer Zev Chafets fast-track a book about Ailes and the cable-news network “because he’s worried about the exhaustively reported book that New York magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman is writing on the same subject.” In 2010, Chafets published the praisery Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One. “Given the author’s perspective and the cooperation he’s getting, one source characterized Chafets’ book ‘as a way for Ailes to scoop Sherman,’” the Daily News write. “The depth of Sherman’s reporting has ratcheted up the 71-year-old Ailes’ anxiety levels because he’s preoccupied with his legacy these days.” The Daily News reported that Fox News has granted extensive access to Chafets, whose book is being published by Penguin’s conservative Sentinel imprint in the fall.
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