EXCLUSIVE: WME plans to tap into ideas and stories from 155-year-old The Atlantic magazine and digital properties like TheAtlanticWire to create opportunities across the film, television, and digital space. The Atlantic has a monthly audience of about 30 million across through its print, digital and live platforms. The mag that has published the likes of Updike, Twain and Hemingway continues to showcase writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, who won this year’s National Magazine Award for Best Essay for “Fear Of A Black President”; James Fallows; Jeffrey Goldberg; Molly Ball; Alexis Madrigal; and Derek Thompson among others. Several articles have already been optioned for TV or film treatment including Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” (July/August 2012), Kate Bolick’s “All The Single Ladies” (November 2011), Hanna Rosin’s “The End Of Men” (July/Aug 2010), Lori Gottlieb’s “Marry Him!” (March 2008), and Don Peck’s “How A New Jobless Era Will Transform America” (March 2010).
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It’s the latest move for a Hollywood player to seize on journalism as source material. Among recent such deals is 20th Century’s Fox’s two-year first-look pact with Epic, a fledgling online platform designed to be a catalyst for film-centric investigative longform journalism. That venture was launched by Joshua Davis and Joshuah Bearman, the latter of whom wrote the Wired magazine story that became the basis for the Ben Affleck-directed Best Picture Oscar winner Argo. Warner Bros is doing a movie about software pioneer John McAfee for John Requa and Glenn Ficarra to direct, based on a Wired story written by Davis after he spent weeks with McAfee on his compound in the Belize jungle before the computer wiz was accused of killing a neighbor. There are numerous examples of publications taking an active role in the dispensation of article rights including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast Entertainment, whose movie head Jeremy Steckler commissioned the McAfee piece.
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