Gail Berman’s The Jackal Group said today it is collaborating with Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot screenwriter Robert Rodat to develop Park Row, a TV drama series centering on the late-1800s newspaper circulation wars between publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.
Berman, chairman and CEO of The Jackal Group, and Rodat will executive produce the project, which will be based on factual events. It plans to follow Pulitzer, Hearst, their families, their mistresses, their friends, their enemies and their reporters who chronicled the sex, violence, brutality and corruption of the day — selling a lot of newspapers and making a hell of a lot of money in the age of Yellow Journalism during the 1890s.
Hearst and Pulitzer rarely let facts get in the way of selling their papers and attempting to ride the other out of the publishing business, relying on super-sensationalized headlines and biased stories designed to attract maximum readers. The two would make serious meaty roles for actors looking for a place to sink their teeth.
“As is often the case, true life events make for great drama. The legendary rivalry between Hearst and Pulitzer offers a broad and rich canvas from which to create an engaging, entertaining and impactful television series,” said Berman in announcing the project. “Robert is a master of storytelling and capturing gripping human drama, and to have such a talented and accomplished screenwriter at the helm truly elevates this project.”
Rodat, who created TNT’s sci-fi series Falling Skies, also received a co-story credit on Thor: The Dark World. He is repped by Gersh and Stankevich-Gochman.
Berman launched The Jackal Group in June in a co-venture with Fox Networks Group. Under the combo, the former Fox Broadcasting president is set to develop and produce scripted, unscripted and factual entertainment programming for FNG’s channels, including Fox Broadcasting Company, FX/FXX, the National Geographic Channels, and Fox International Channels.
The partnership also will look for digital and feature film opportunities for non-21st Century Fox distribution entities. Additionally, it will draw on Berman’s background in theater in creating and developing concepts for live, theatrical entertainment.
There is no word which of the channels might take on Park Row.
In October, Jackal Group made its first deal, acquiring Grady Hendrix’s recently released supernatural mystery novel Horrorstör for development as a TV series.